The idea behind this film is wonderful; give twenty of the world's best directors free reign to make a short film about Paris and see what happens. Each director gets a section of the city to tell a love-story that takes place there. None of the films are connected in any way, there's no narrator, we simply move from tale to tale.
There are some really wonderful short films here. My favorite is a toss up between the Coen Brothers (no surprise) and Tom Tykwer. The Coen's tell the story of a slightly lost American in Paris, played by the always wonderful Steve Buscemi. He's minding his own business in the Paris Underground, when he catches the eye of a couple making out across the tracks. The boyfriend starts to yell derogatory things at him in French, which he can't understand, and before he knows it the girlfriend is sitting next to him, offering him a kiss. There's also a hilarious little bit about a boy who's shooting spit-balls at him.
Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) is about a blind kid who falls in love with Natalie Portman. We see their entire relationship play out in a matter of minutes through a variety of still-shots, it's a beautifully shot and edited film. Alexander Payne's (Election, Sideways) was also a favorite, his is about a middle-age American woman, who has always wanted to visit Paris, and is now finally getting to and is falling in love with the city itself; told very much in his wonderful comic style.
There being twenty films, there was bound to be some mediocre and bad ones. Gérard Depardieu's turned out to be particularly boring, a French couple sitting around in a coffee shop talking. There was another one starring Bob Hoskins, I'm not sure of the director of the short, that I couldn't get into. But each film is only around five minutes and you're moving on to Gus Van Sant doing his thing, Wes Craven telling a weird little love story in a cemetery, and there's one tale that is way out there, Vincenzo Natali (Cube) has Elijah Wood falling in love with a vampire.
I'm a little biased, because Paris is my wife and I's favorite city in the world, so we just enjoyed seeing the beautiful photography of the entire city. But was also very cool to see all these director's one after another. You really get a sense for how much a director influences a film, as each short has it's own style, rhythm and pace. I can see going back and watching some of these shorts over and over, and never bothering with some others again. But overall Paris, je t'aime an incredible artistic experiment, I'd love to see another 20 directors get a stab at it.