Paris, je t'aime (Paris, I love you)
When I was 14, I went to Paris for the first time. As my family drove into the city, I was blown away by the sight of a white, domed cathedral sitting on top of a hill. It was the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Montmartre, rising from the metropolitan sprawl like some kind of divine apparition. I had never heard of it, naively visualizing Paris in touristy images like the Arc de Triomphe, Versailles and the Eiffel Tower. I fell for the Sacre Coeur instantly. Paris, je t'aime is a tribute to the French capital, made up of a collection of short stories by different directors. One of the first starts with the same view of Montmartre, and it's as striking as it was 25 years ago.
Paris is a city often associated with love, romance and passion, and each of Paris, je t'aime's 20 segments and is, in its own way, a Parisian love story. As a movie, it serves as the ultimate Parisian tour guide, taking in every sight from the Sacre Coeur and the Eiffel Tower, to the Quartier Latin and the River Seine. As well as its people, its streets and its quirky little details.
Each section is named after a district of the city, some better-known than others. And each starts with a scenic view, following that with a five-minute tale. By doing this it really captures Paris' diversity.
The movie is made by actors and directors from all over the world, so it reflects a very cosmopolitan view of the city – different aspects of it, seen through many different eyes. So, yes, it gets all the postcard shots, but it also gets some of the less pretty sides of the city – the neighborhoods as well as the racial tensions and economic struggles.
Which makes it an honest film. But there's no hiding the beauty of the French capital, its laidback elegance. There's a scene where a group of boys are eyeing up good-looking girls as they walk past them (third from top). You want to be in that scene, spending a lazy afternoon by the Seine, watching street musicians and artists do their things, watching people go by, making your own Parisian love story. – Roshan McArthur