I just watched a Blu-Ray of the film PARIS JE ‘TAIME, which is really a collection of shorts from a wide array of filmmakers from across the globe, not the least of which are the Cohen Brothers, Gus Van Zant, Alexander Payne, and Alfonso Cuarón. I was floored by the movie for various reasons.
Now I’ve been to Paris France 7 times in my life and each trip was profoundly different. I do love Paris as one of the greatest cities on Earth. On my first visit, I recall meeting a Canadian at the hostel and then proceeding to get drunk on cherry whine in the Latin Quarter with him and his friend, a local Parisian girl. Then there are some vague impressions of vomiting in the middle of the night and sleeping for over 16 hours, and no recollection of how I got to my room and why I still had my wallet.
My second visit had my fondest memory of being near the Eiffel Tower. It was about 2:00AM and I wondered up the long hill to the museum that overlooks the tower and tour buses were still dropping people off from Germany, the U.S., Australia, and more with an incredible carnival atmosphere that late at night with street vendors and musicians enjoying themselves like it was noon. I met people, frolicked and just swooned with the wave that everyone had in that moment. That was the strangest touristy moment I ever had, yet didn’t feel disingenuous for anyone there.
I have shot some Super 8 film in the city myself, but nothing substantial or meaningful. On the last trip I wanted to shoot something, no matter how apparently meaningless. Unfortunately, the Canon HV20 was not out yet and I really wished I had that camera then. To be able to shoot so much, especially in 24P high definition would have been amazing. Perhaps one day soon, I will return for my 8th trip to this city and make even a simple short film there.
Other films have been wonderful post cards to the city such as Richard Linklater’s sequel BEFORE SUNSET, Paris’ hometown hero Luc Besson’s LA FEMME NIKITA, and even the Lawrence Kasden comedy FRENCH KISS. I love each of those films if for no other reason than capturing a small essence of the city.
PARIS JE ‘TAIME is a collection of short films, each with varying styles, casts, and every short focuses on a different district, trying to evoke the flavor of the different parts of the city. American, European, Mexican, Spanish, and even Asian and African casts meld and merge in this amazing set of stories. Each director had 5 minutes to tell a story, from things a varied as a vampire story to love stories, to slices of life vignettes, and fantastical or simple. I recommend anyone interested in making short films watch this feature to get inspired by the elegance of the cinematography, the simplicity of the storytelling, yet with deep impacts. So much is said with so little dialogue, in English or French, and so much is visually told.
I couldn’t have watched this movie at a better time. I’m gearing up for a short shoot and stylistically, this film was right up my alley for the type of movies I’m about to make for the next 3-4 months. Things are prepping well. I want to expand what I’ve done and mature some as a filmmaker.
I give PARIS JE ‘TAIME a very high recommendation. Natalie Portman starring in Tom Tykwer’s segment, which means the film already had 2 stars in my book, rates a 5 star movie overall. If you make or want to make short films, this is a MUST SEE movie.
Pierre Jean Ross