Most people think that short films are easy to make. Why wouldn’t they be? They only go for approximately fifteen minutes – and even that is considered long. However, I disagree. Short films are much more difficult to shoot than feature length films because one is given such a limited time frame to convey one’s message. I’m not talking about the whole minimalist, “less is more,” crap. I’m talking about saying so much with the little that you have. Limited screen time, limited budget, limited production, limited everything… It must be an adrenaline rush to create a short film.
Having eighteen short films play one after the other was truly a delight. Sometimes, in feature length films, good writing can compensate for bad cinematography and vice-versa. In short films, however, this is not the case. Thus, it is imperative for the writer and director (if they are two different people) to have some sort of rare chemistry when it comes to their work. This makes viewing short films so exciting. There are a lot of subtle techniques that filmmakers use for short films because of the time constraint. One of these techniques can be seen in the segment about the Spanish immigrant. The director conveyed the caretaker’s detachment to her employer’s baby by simply obscuring the image of the latter while the former sang a lullaby – a lullaby that she sings to her own child. Simple. Effective. Brilliant.
Regarding the eighteen separate storylines, I really must commend the writers. It’s no small feat to create a concisely written script for a feature length film. What more for a short? Almost every film started ‘in medias res’ and the true test of a tightly written script is if the audience can immediately catch on to what’s being shown on screen. Honestly, I had no problems in deciphering the plot in any of the shorts, and no character seemed underdeveloped. However, I was expecting something like the film “Crash,” wherein all the stories somehow interconnect with one another. Then again, how do you connect eighteen short films, right?
Looking back, I enjoyed most of the short films, with the exception of maybe two or three. Stylistically, these three weren’t bad at all. I just couldn’t identify with them. The films I could identify with actually paralleled my love life in many ways. Paris je t’aime features not only many different stories about love, but also love’s different stages. There is of course the beginning – that first spark, the initial attraction that pulls you together. Sometimes, we mistake a spark for a misfire. Things don’t always go our way. May it be a mere coincidence or the hand of destiny, who knows? Who really cares? There’s just the moment and you try to hold on to it as best as you can. It’s the stage wherein everything is good, and you feel like it’ll last forever, like nothing can touch you.
Then there are the fights that you have. She decides to pick on you for something small, or your own insensitivity causes her to snap. But you chase after her to make it work because no one else you know at that moment can make you as happy as she does. Sometimes, you get tired of one another. Maybe something causes you to rekindle that fire – or not. Sometimes, something terrible happens. A shit storm just decides to head your way. Maybe you’ve caused it, or maybe she’s caused it. When it pours, it doesn’t really matter anymore because things are falling apart faster than you can fix them. And if things don’t turn out for the better… Well, who wants to remember what that’s like?
Wow. All that (and more) in eighteen short films. So many of the films were a little too familiar for comfort, but that’s probably why I enjoyed them so much. I believe that the love (be it romantic or otherwise) that people have for one another is unique. Nevertheless, it was reassuring to know that, somewhere in the world, thousands of miles away – there were people who had an idea of what it was like to be me. The need to be understood, the need to feel connected is one of the most important things besides love.
We’re not just looking for that special someone. We’re looking for that connection that will last a lifetime.