Movie Review (3/5): Paris, je t’aime


A 2-hour film made up of 18 short films, Paris, je t’aime is the ultimate creative collage. It features a large ensemble cast, 22 directors, and one location: Paris. It’s a bit harder to review Paris, je t’amie on an aesthetic level because the short films differ so much from one to the next in style, lighting, and shooting techniques. In the segment “Quartier de la Madeleine,” featuring Elijah Wood, director Vincenzo Natali presents a dark and cold vampire scene with low-key lighting and over dramatized coloring for blood. He uses chiaroscuro lighting and blue tints to establish a chilling night setting. On the other end of the spectrum, Alexander Payne delivered an uplifting, beautifully moving short film that had warm and even lighting. The camera moves were steady and the simplicity of the piece made it that much more brilliant. There was simply one woman’s voice over as she describes her trip to Paris to her french class. There were no extremely tough shots, just simple and effective. The Coen brothers teamed up to shoot “Tuileries,” a short featuring Steve Buscemi, which takes place entirely at a subway stop. Their lighting is very true to a subway: darkish and flat. The most distinguishing factor of their film is the cinematography. The shots they achieve are very balanced, stationary, and symmetrical, not unlike something out of Wes Anderson film. Oliver Assayas directed the segment “Quartier des Enfants Rouges,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal. He chose to go with a hand-held, shaky-cam look, with a sloppy focus and lots of extreme close-ups. The lighting is very contrasty, low-key, and natural looking. Editing wise, there are a lot of quick cuts and jump cuts, it rarely stays on a shot for more than a few seconds. Alfonso Cuarón, on the other hand, does his entire five minute short in one take, no cuts. The two characters walk along city streets, sometimes lit well, sometimes not, just the way it would look in actuality. This gives his short a very realistic quality, but at the same time alienates the audience from the characters a bit, since the camera never goes in for a close up on them.
All together, Paris, je t’aime is very well done film, experimenting in lots of styles, lighting, and cinematography.

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~ by Peyton Lea on October 14, 2009.

One Response to “Movie Review (3/5): Paris, je t’aime”

  1. I really liked the Alexander Payne short too.

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