Thursday, 11 August 2011

Places: France/Films and cinema: Paris, Je T'Aime (2006, Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant).

Sourced from the Wikipedia page 'Paris, Je T'Aime'...because I live dangerously...

Paris, Je t'aime is a 2006 film starring an ensemble cast of actors of various nationalities. The two-hour film consists of eighteen short films set in different arrondissements. The 22 directors include Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel and Ethan Coen, Gérard Depardieu, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Nobuhiro Suwa, Alexander Payne, Tom Tykwer, Walter Salles and Gus Van Sant.
The film premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival on 18 May, opening the Un Certain Regard selection. It had its Canadian premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on 10 September and its U.S. premiere in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 9 April 2007. First Look Pictures acquired the North American rights, and the film opened in the United States on 4 May 2007.

Initially, twenty short films representing the twenty arrondissements of Paris were planned, but two of them (the XVe arrondissement, directed by Christoffer Boe, and the XIe arrondissement, by Raphaël Nadjari) were not included in the final film because they could not be properly integrated into it. Each arrondissement is followed by a few images of Paris; these transition sequences were written by Emmanuel Benbihy and directed by Benbihy with Frédéric Auburtin. Including Benbihy, there were 22 directors involved in the finished film.
The 18 arrondissements are:
  • Montmartre (XVIIIe arrondissement) — by French writer-director Bruno Podalydès. A man (played by Podalydès himself) parks his car on a Montmartre street and muses about how the women passing by his car all seem to be "taken". Then a woman passerby (Florence Muller) faints near his car, and he comes to her aid.
  • Quais de Seine (Ve arrondissement) — made by the husband-and-wife team of Japanese-American screenwriter Paul Mayeda Berges and Indian-British director Gurinder Chadha. A young man (Cyril Descours), hanging out with two friends who taunt all women who walk by, strikes up a friendship with a young Muslim woman (Leïla Bekhti).
  • Le Marais (IVe arrondissement) — by American writer-director Gus Van Sant. A young male customer (Gaspard Ulliel) finds himself attracted to a young printshop worker (Elias McConnell) and tries to explain that he believes the man to be his soulmate, not realizing that he speaks little French. Marianne Faithfull also appears briefly in the film.
  • Tuileries (Ier arrondissement) — by American writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen. A comic film in which an American tourist (Steve Buscemi) waiting at the Tuileries station becomes involved in the conflict between a young couple (Axel Kiener and Julie Bataille) after he breaks the cardinal rule of avoiding eye contact with people on the Paris Metro.
  • Loin du 16e (XVIe arrondissement; literally: "far from the 16th") — by Brazilian writer-directors Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas. A young immigrant woman (Catalina Sandino Moreno) sings a Spanish lullaby ("Qué Linda Manita") to her baby before leaving it in a daycare. She then takes an extremely long commute to the home of her wealthy employer (whose face is not seen), where she sings the same lullaby to her employer's baby.
  • Porte de Choisy (XIIIe arrondissement) — directed by Australian director Christopher Doyle and written by Doyle with Gabrielle Keng and Kathy Li. A comic film in which a beauty products salesman (Barbet Schroeder) makes a call on a Chinatown salon run by a woman (Li Xin) who proves to be a tough customer.
  • Bastille (XIIe arrondissement) — by Spanish writer-director Isabel Coixet. Prepared to leave his marriage for a much younger lover, Marie Christine (Leonor Watling), a man named Sergio (Sergio Castellitto) instead decides to stay with his wife (Miranda Richardson) after she reveals a terminal illness - and he rediscovers the love he once felt for her.
  • Place des Victoires (IIe arrondissement) — by Japanese writer-director Nobuhiro Suwa. A mother (Juliette Binoche), grieving over the death of her little boy (Martin Combes), is comforted by a magical cowboy (Willem Dafoe).
  • Tour Eiffel (VIIe arrondissement) — written and directed by French animator Sylvain Chomet. A boy tells how his parents, both mime artists (Paul Putner and Yolande Moreau), meet in prison and fall in love.
  • Parc Monceau (XVIIe arrondissement) — by Mexican writer-director Alfonso Cuarón. An older man (Nick Nolte) and younger woman (Ludivine Sagnier) meet for an arrangement that a third person ('Gaspard'), who is close to the woman, may not approve of. It is eventually revealed that the young woman is his daughter, and Gaspard is her baby. The film was shot in a single continuous shot. When the characters walk by a video store, several posters of movies by the other directors of Paris, je t'aime are visible in the window.
  • Quartier des Enfants Rouges (IIIe arrondissement) — by French writer-director Olivier Assayas. An American actress (Maggie Gyllenhaal) procures some exceptionally strong hashish from a dealer (Lionel Dray) whom she gets a crush on.
  • Place des fêtes (XIXe arrondissement) — by South African writer-director Oliver Schmitz. A Nigerian man (Seydou Boro), dying from a stab wound in the Place des fêtes asks a woman paramedic (Aïssa Maïga) for a cup of coffee. It is then revealed that he had fallen in love at first sight with her some time previously. By the time she remembers him, and has received the coffee, he has died.
  • Pigalle (IXe arrondissement) — by American writer-director Richard LaGravenese. An aging couple (Bob Hoskins and Fanny Ardant) act out a fantasy argument for a prostitute in order to keep the spark in their relationship.
  • Quartier de la Madeleine (VIIIe arrondissement) — by Canadian writer-director Vincenzo Natali. A young backpacker tourist (Elijah Wood) falls in love with a vampiress (Olga Kurylenko).
  • Père-Lachaise (XXe arrondissement) — by American writer-director Wes Craven. While visiting Père Lachaise Cemetery, a young woman (Emily Mortimer) breaks up with her fiancé (Rufus Sewell), who then redeems himself with the aid of advice from the ghost of Oscar Wilde (Alexander Payne).
  • Faubourg Saint-Denis (Xe arrondissement) — by German writer-director Tom Tykwer. After mistakenly believing that his girlfriend, a struggling actress (Natalie Portman), has broken up with him, a young blind man (Melchior Beslon) reflects on the growth and seeming decline of their relationship.
  • Quartier Latin (VIe arrondissement) — written by American actress Gena Rowlands, directed by French actor Gérard Depardieu and French director Frédéric Auburtin. A separated couple (Ben Gazzara and Rowlands) meet at a bar (run by Depardieu) for one last drink before the two officially divorce.
  • 14e arrondissement (XIVe arrondissement) — written and directed by Alexander Payne. Carol (Margo Martindale), a letter carrier from Denver, Colorado on her first European holiday, recites in rough French what she loves about Paris.


Julio Medem was attached to the project for a long time. He was supposed to direct one of the segments, but this finally fell through because of scheduling conflicts with the filming of Caótica Ana (2007).
Paris, je t'aime is the first feature film to be fully scanned in 6K and mastered in 4K in Europe (as opposed to the normal 2K). Encoding the image took about 24 hours per reel (at Laboratoires Éclair).
As the film is a collection of shorter segments, there were many producers attached to the project.


Following the success of Paris, je t'aime, a similarly structured film, New York, I Love You, focusing on life in the Five Boroughs, premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival and was released in a limited number of theatres in 2009.
The Cities of Love website states that there are 3 more movies in the series to be released. They include Rio, Eu Te Amo, Shanghai, I Love You and Jerusalem, I Love You. All 3 films will follow the same style with no fewer than 10 short films using their respective city as the main unifying character. The films are slated for release around 2010-2013.
Tokyo!, a triptych-film following this same style, saw limited exposure in 2008 and 2009. A film called Moscow, I Love You was released in 2010 in Russia with a similar structure.

*Again, like many French films, 'Paris, Je T'Aime' was something really quite special when I first watched it- completely out of the blue in it's short film structure and a very pleasant surprise- a really refreshing format which combined and inter-linked stories wonderfully. Very cleverly done, and versatile too- there's something for everyone.

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