Morsels of Liquefaction in Paris Je T’aime (Various, 2006) September 7, 2007Posted by Richard Bolisay in Cinemanila, European Films.
Originally published in Digital Buryong on August 25, 2007.
Directed by Olivier Assayas, Federic Auburtin & Gerard Depardieu, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan & Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravanese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydes, Oliver Schmidt, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas & Walter Salles,
Tom Tykwer, and Gus Van Sant
I am tired of seeing Paris in pictures. I can smell Paris in novels and short stories, but I feel that those authors are lying to me. And even a film like Paris Je T’aime can’t save me from this hole of desire, a surge as blindful as doses of squid inks, to visit this city where “overrated” seems to be non-existent.
The idea for this venture is brilliant. But like most good concepts, it is not delivered well. Or probably just falls short in overall direction. I am tempted to say coherence, but no — it’s not coherence. There is a smooth transition from one story to another: smooth and short enough to forget them easily. The transition could’ve been better. I wonder why the producers took out Christoffer Boe’s and Raphaël Nadjari’s segments just “because they could not be properly integrated into the movie.” Judging how the omnibus turned out, it seems like it doesn’t matter if they included the two. In fact, only a few stand out, either really bad or really good. Everything just came and went.
Trois mentions spécials:
Coen Brothers’ Tuileries is fantastic. Steve Buscemi is still the Steve Buscemi I adore– he still lives in oblivion. Forgetting the cardinal rule of eye contact, we know that even Mona Lisa cannot save him from two young lovers who consider kissing in public as their daily dose of Centrum.
Quite surprised that a lot of fellow bloggers and friends dislike Sylvain Chomet’s Tour Eiffel. Perhaps I just can’t forget how lovely Triplets of Belleville is. I am either laughing or smirking from start to finish, I don’t know why. I just find mimes really funny and that kid is cute. It succeeds in making me smile, no matter what Chomet’s intentions are. At least now I understand why people around me are so silent and why all the shrieks are just coming from a single mammal.
Hands down, the best installment is the last. Alexander Payne’s lonely tourist visits Paris, armed with her Je parle français un peu and the osmosis of her past, and ends up more lonely than she ever expected. Its bitter ironies and the hilarity of her narration — a language that French language beginners like myself finds very funny that I got teary-eyed — save me from the disappointment that I thought I’ll feel afterwards. Inoubliable: Practicing her French, she asks a store attendant how to go to a certain place. The girl recognizes that she is a tourist. She answers back in English. Harsh. Anyone knows where to buy modesty in Paris? Pardon the generalization. In Quatorzième Arrondisement, we realize how it’s like to be in Paris after all.
P. S. Whatever happened to Chris Doyle? * * *