Producer Tristan Carnes ambitious anthology – Paris, I Love You consists of 18 vignettes, each lasting no longer than five minutes, celebrating the spirit of the City of Love, helmed by some of todays most intriguing directors.
Joel and Ethan Coens comedic Tuileries is set in Metro station, where a nervous American tourist (Steve Buscemi) unabashedly observes a quasi-hostile lovers quarrel, shattering his expectations of urban romance. In Isabel Coixets Bastille, a husband (Sergio Castellitto) is about to ask his wife (Miranda Richardson) for a divorce when she bursts into tears and tells him she has leukemia. And in Olivier Assayass Quartier Des Enfants Rouges, Maggie Gyllenhaal is a wayward actress.
Written by Gena Rowlands and co-directed by Frederic Auburtin and Gerard Depardieu, Quartier Latin one of the most memorable episodes – features Rowlands and Ben Gazzara as an about-to-be-divorced couple with Depardieu as a restaurateur.
Other segments dont work as well like Nobuhiro Suwas Place des Victoires, a surreal fantasy in which Willem Dafoe rides in as a cowboy to help a depressed mother, Juliette Binoche, deal with the death of her son; Vincenzo Natalis Quartier de la Madeleine, a blood-drenched horror fantasy starring Elijah Wood as a young man besotted by a vampire; and Wes Cravens Pere-Lachaise, set in front of Oscar Wildes tomb.
The best is last: 14eme Arrondissement, directed by Alexander Payne in which Margo Martindale is a dowdy, middle-aged spinster from Denver who experiences an unexpected joyous epiphany on a park bench.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Paris, Je TAime is an eclectic, wistfully sweet 6. Its an engaging sampler of different perspectives that never quite connect, but it does make you want to contact your travel agent as soon as possible.