Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Paris, je t’aime

(France/Liechtenstein, 2006)

A real oddity: 18 short films set in Paris. When I say short, consider that the screen running time, less credits, is about 115 minutes. That means that each of the 22 directors (several were co-directed) has about 6 minutes and 38 seconds to say his or her piece. You obviously don’t tell a complicated story in that length (though some, like the Coen Brothers, manage a funny anecdote), you are going for a feeling, an impression. I was dubious, I’ll admit, though I’ve liked this sort of thing in the past, most notably in the little gem Nine Lives. I was pleasantly surprised. Naturally some worked better for me than others, but I can’t say there was a dud in the bunch. They range from the poignant to the surreal. At first I wondered if they would all tie together somehow, as the stories in a movie like Crash do … but they don’t. Don’t look for resolution. Don’t even look for story, in many of them. Each exists in a moment in time, says its bit, and gets off the stage. There are some very big name actors here, and very good acting. I recommend it.