I won’t even begin to review Paris, je T’aime as a film, because it is not. Or rather, it shouldn’t be. The collection of 18 shorts plays perfectly fine as a collection of 18 shorts, but then there is a nightmarishly awful epilogue that ties some of the characters together that I am going to completely overlook, because the poor directors probably had nothing to do with it. No, if I was to review anything, it would have to be each individual short on a case by case basis and I haven’t the time.
What I will say is that I’m delighted that a film like Paris, je T’aime exists because it promotes the art of the short. Long banished to the film festival circuit and even there, what exactly is the best that can come of a short? The entire idea behind making one has moved further away from simply having a shorter story to tell and closer towards piqueing interest in the feature length version that is shortly on the way. But gathering these famous directors and promoting this collection of work can only be a good thing, and there have already been other short collections made and greenlit. In fact, this is the beginning of a planned series that will next take form in a number of shorts collectively titled, New York, I Love You. So by merely existing, I already like Paris, je T’aime and that’s why I chose to see it.
Out of the 18 directors that took a crack at a ten minute film, some get lazy (Gus Van Sant and Alfonso Cuaron), some get crazy (Christopher Doyle and Vincenzo Natali) and some are already forgotten (Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas). Only a select few seem to truly understand what a short film is and should be and those are the ones that knock it out of the park. The directors to do that are the Coen Brothers, Sylvain Chomet and Alexander Payne. Payne especially, crafts one of the most poignant characters in eight minutes solely through body language and narration. It’s a perfect short.
A perfect example of what not to do in a short is found in just the second clip, from director Gurinder Chadha. Her absolutely atrocious film is beyond description in the ways it tries to educate and moralize using cardboard characters and stereotypes.
In the end, the film didn’t leave me particularly in love with Paris or with love, so if those were the main objectives, it was a bit of a failure. But it did leave me with the desire to seek out more short work and hope that more collections like these can surface in theaters.