Combustible Celluloid
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With: Fanny Ardant, Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Gérard Depardieu, Marianne Faithfull, Ben Gazzara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Emily Mortimer, Nick Nolte, Alexander Payne, Natalie Portman, Miranda Richardson, Gena Rowlands, Ludivine Sagnier, Barbet Schroeder, Rufus Sewell, Elijah Wood, Bruno Podalydès, Florence Muller, Leïla Bekhti, Cyril Descours, Gaspard Ulliel, Elias McConnell, Axel Kiener, Julie Bataille, Li Xin, Sergio Castellitto, Leonor Watling, Hippolyte Girardot, Paul Putner, Yolande Moreau, Lionel Dray, Aïssa Maïga, Seydou Bor, Olga Kurylenko, Melchior Beslon, Margo Martindale
Written by: Olivier Assayas, Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Christopher Doyle, Gabrielle Keng, Richard LaGravenese, Kathy Li, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Gena Rowlands, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant
Directed by: Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief drug use
Language: French, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 120
Date: 05/18/2006

Paris, je t'aime (2007)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Eyeful Towers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Like other anthology films, the new Paris je t'aime has its strong points and its low points, and no two viewers will agree on which is which. Eighteen directors participated in this tribute to the City of Lights, each assigned to a neighborhood. Each short film runs an average of eight minutes, so even if you get stuck with a clunker, it's not long before the next one starts. Overall, the filmmakers managed to capture a sense of wonder and romance about the city, even if the "neighborhood" concept isn't consistent. Some of the filmmakers never leave a single block or location. In any case, I very much enjoyed Joel and Ethan Coen's sadistic comedy about a sad-sack traveler (Steve Buscemi) navigating the Metro. Walter Salles -- normally not my favorite filmmaker -- turns in a faintly obvious, but emotionally powerful story of a woman (Catalina Sandino Moreno) who drops off her baby before going to work as a nanny in a rich, white household. Olivier Assayas' segment, with Maggie Gyllenhaal as an actress (speaking almost exclusively French), is potent. Alexander Payne's, with Margo Martindale as a dumpy American tourist -- narrating in French, but with a terrible American accent -- wobbles between snarky and moving. There's a vampire story (starring Elijah Wood), but Wes Craven did not direct it; Craven's segment features the ghost of Oscar Wilde (played by Alexander Payne!). My favorite, however, has to be Alfonso Cuaron's single-shot tale of a middle-aged man (Nick Nolte) and a beautiful young woman (Ludivine Sagnier) and a twist ending. My least favorite featured a mime.

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