An anthology film, also known as a portmanteau film, consists of several short stories packaged into one movie and Paris Je T’aime (Paris, I love you) is an example of that. The movie is a compilation of 18 short films with stories in the different areas of Paris directed by 22 directors.
Paris Je T’aime is set in Paris, the country of love. One would expect that this movie would all be about the romantic cheesy type of love but in fact, it captures all kinds of love. There were stories of men and women meeting for the first time and finding to be very fond of each other, stories of parent-child relationships, and stories of couples breaking up and making up; stories of the self, stories with happy ending, stories with happy never-afters and even stories with no endings. There was just so much love actualization and no matter how short the films were they were still very enjoyable. Some people prefer to watch one story and have closure but I liked how Paris Je T’aime didn’t need to have that closure. I believe that these short films were very straight to the point. They didn’t need to have background stories in order for the viewers to get the message.
Some of the stories that are in my top list actually talk about the many types of relationships and dealing with them. First, is about the story of the Muslim girl and the French boy finding an uncertain platonic-infatuation relationship despite their racial difference. I like this movie because it was simple and somewhat secretive with the dialogue that you couldn’t really know what they were feeling. I like how the film broke the cultural barriers and was built a new foundation for love and friendship. Second, is about the engaged British couple visiting the famous cemetery in Paris with the woman very enthusiastic looking for Oscar Wilde’s tomb and the man, well he was apathetic just following where the woman was going. When they reach Oscar Wilde’s tomb, they get into an argument about how the man isn’t giving her any light in her life and then she walks out and when the man goes after her, he trips and bumps his head on the tomb of Oscar Wilde. As he’s down, he sees “the ghost of Oscar Wilde” telling him that without the woman he will die. The man, punched by realization, runs after the woman and apologizes. They kiss and make-up and then the man sees “the ghost of Oscar Wilde” again saluting him. Then the couple leave the cemetery hand in hand. I really enjoyed this one because of how you need to get bopped in the head sometimes to realize what you have and what you don’t. The story was nice because it seemed realistic. I loved the actors who played the roles because it seemed so fit and so real. The supernatural part of the film and which I think was oddly cool was when the ghost of Oscar Wilde appeared. It’s like a “speaking of the devil” type of thing. The couple was just talking about him and then poof! He’s there. I like the irony of it all; how Oscar Wilde was the fuel of their argument but then became the bridge to bring them back together. Third story is about a mother who can’t seem to let go of her son who passed away. In the beginning of the film, it showed how hard she was dealing with the death. She looked so depressed and so spaced out that even her husband couldn’t get through her. Then she hears her son’s voice, she follows the voice and ends up in the middle of the street. With not seeing her son, she breaks down in tears. To cut the story short, she hallucinates, “sees” her son and lets him go. This encounter, where the boy wanted to go with the cowboy, was a symbol of her letting go. When reality comes back, her husband meets her then she gives him a big hug. The husband asks her where she got all her strength and then she says she got it from God. I like how this film was the most dramatic out of all the films. I like how they combined the values of faith, hope and love into one frame.
I chose these three films to talk about because they were the ones that left a good mark after watching. The simplicity and practicality of how these films were made was what I liked. The pacing was perfect so they didn’t leave me thinking what happened before or what happened. They just left me thinking of what was happening at the moment and that was that. I liked how their ideas were out there making the start of my experience dramatically instantaneous.
There were some films that I also particularly didn’t appreciate just for the fact that they tried to be too artsy. Examples for that would be the encounter of the Asian and French beauticians. I found it too weird and annoying because I didn’t get the message. I found the story shallow and worse, it was described in an eccentric way in which I couldn’t understand. Nonetheless, the main reason why I like Paris Je T’aime in general is how it is the lightest movie we watched in class. This movie didn’t necessarily need thinking but more of understanding the elements of it. I like how there was a mix of languages because it felt like they were reaching out to a wider audience and it didn’t make me get tired of the French language. I also like how they were able to incorporate several styles of filming with different storylines and fuse them into one picture. I think the single main setting, which is Paris, made it exceptionally easier for the viewers to be drawn into the movie. And aside from not having complex audiovisual effects, the stories were entertaining. The plot is a big factor that contributed to the film’s likeability and I’m glad that I was able to experience something so simply amazing.
This is a movie I’d definitely want to watch again and again just to feel good.