“Paris, Je T’aime,” review by Susan Granger

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Producer Tristan Carne’s 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 today’s most intriguing directors.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s 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 Coixet’s “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 Assayas’s “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 don’t work as well – like Nobuhiro Suwa’s “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 Natali’s “Quartier de la Madeleine,” a blood-drenched horror fantasy starring Elijah Wood as a young man besotted by a vampire; and Wes Craven’s “Pere-Lachaise,” set in front of Oscar Wilde’s 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 T’Aime” is an eclectic, wistfully sweet 6. It’s 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.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.