First, it serves as a cinematic sorbet after the concentration of The Godfather and the breadth of The Godfather, Part II. Paris, je t’aime is generally lighter in mood, at least for most of the 18 short films that make it up.
Second, there is little to tie together the short films in terms of plot and characters. What we have instead is the foregrounding of theme and general setting/place. Oddly, this results in a film that remains engaging and accessible, even if it’s typically plot and character that dominate our appreciation for mainstream cinema.
Third, by having several directors “doing their own thing,” so to speak, it produces a sense of perspective and perception as multiple. We began the class with Blow-Up so that we can learn to paradoxically focus on how what we see is closely related to what we cannot see. Paris, je t’aime is a pleasant variation on that idea, giving us an experience that offers a plurality of perspectives that are nevertheless placed together in a rather tentative “whole.”
It’s been a short course, and I figure the best way to encourage you to keep watching films and to keep watching them with differing points of view is to show you a film that pretty much celebrates that with something as fundamental as love and human connection.
Trivia: Several actors we’ve seen in some of the other films this summer appear here: Miranda Richardson, the terminally ill woman in the red coat, was in Spider. The beauty care salesman who visits a Chinatown hair salon was the owner of the auto repair shop where the brothers in The Darjeeling Limited came to pick up their father’s car. Even the character of Oscar Wilde has been in Velvet Goldmine and this one. And then there’s Natalie Portman.