Paris, Je T’aime

We just watched Paris, Je T’aime, a French movie that recently featured in the Cannes Film Festival. It was delightful, and romantic as you can expect, but there were scenes that were quite out of the ordinary.
The whole movie is actually made up of ‘short stories’ from various districts, or Arrondissements, in Paris. Each district has its own personality, along with the people based there.
There are stories of lonely people who do find love, eventually, in Paris. Some involve couples who are renewing their romance. Some fear they are losing their loved ones – in more ways than one. Some make you guess what’s going on, then you realise it’s not quite what you think. I shan’t elaborate more because this will become a real spoiler.
Popping up every now and then are more well-known actors such as Elijah Wood (who does come across as a bit Hobbit-like, with his backpack), Natalie Portman (who plays an actress in love with a blind young Frenchman), and GĂ©rard Depardieu who is the manager of a restaurant where an American couple are discussing their impending divorce. Rufus Sewell looked a bit like Jude Law but after checking his filmography on IMDB I realise why he looked familiar. It was nice to see a ‘guest appearance’ by Oscar Wilde, who teaches Sewell’s character to be more charming towards his fiancee.
The film touches issues such as racism, bullying, homosexual love, working class versus upper class, love across religious lines, extramarital affairs, crime and aspirations. Not every story has an entirely happy ending. Actually it feels very much like the other movie ‘Love, Actually’ in the sense that it’s a combination of stories around the theme of love.
If you’re watching this in Singapore, there are subtitles in English and Mandarin, but it helps if you know a bit of French. For instance, in one short story, a lonely, middle-aged American woman narrates her experiences in Paris in poorly-pronounced French. If you read the subtitles alone, you wouldn’t find it funny at all. However if you know how words should be pronounced in French, you will realise she mispronounced many of them with an American accent, sometimes completely switching back to her natural vocabulary.
Obviously the audience around me were quite familiar with the French language. There were a number of Caucasian students in the audience but the locals also understood the nuances of the language. I bet we were all French language students at one point or another. Looking at everyone’s faces as we emerged from the cinema hall, we all enjoyed the movie.
My overall rating: Tres bien!
More info on Wikipedia and trailers on Youtube.

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