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Paris, je t'aime(2006)
Through the neighborhoods of Paris, love is veiled, revealed, imitated, sucked dry, reinvented and awakened. A group of internationally renowned directors rediscover the city of Paris in a collective work about love.
For more about Paris, je t'aime and the Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray release, see Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 8, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Directors: Olivier Assayas, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu
Writers: Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Walter Salles
Starring: Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bob Hoskins (I), Elijah Wood
» See full cast & crew
Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 8, 2009
Twenty one different directors - Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, 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, and Gus Van Sant - contribute to eighteen short stories inspired by the City of Lights in "Paris je t'aime" (2006). Courtesy of First Look Studios.
Love, pain, hope, and despair, are amongst the key themes in a colorful collage of 18 short stories meant to highlight the timeless allure of Paris. Each story is approximately 5 minutes long (the original intent was to have 20 stories for each of the city's 20 districts, but two stories, one by Chtistoffer Boe and one by Raphael Nadjari, did not make the final cut) and captures the city as seen by those who live in it, those who wish to live in it, and those who have lived in it but moved elsewhere.
As mentioned earlier, Paris je t'aime is fractured into tiny little stories lacking a common theme. None of the main characters appear again once we see them leave. As a result, each story plays out more as a slice of life, a glimpse at the humongous cosmopolitan mosaic the city of Paris is, which is only effective if seen in context (screened individually these shorts will hardly impress as much as they do when seen together). Furthermore, the film effectively shows that Paris is a cultural and social magnet where life simply happens. The bitter with the sweet, the beautiful with the ugly, and the real with the unreal coexist here in a strange but glorious harmony everyone contributes to.
Montmartre – dir. Bruno Podalydès.
A snotty Frenchman looking for a parking spot assists a young woman suffering from hypoglycemia. The two strike a conversation. Is love on the horizon?
Quais de Seine - dir. Gurinder Chadha
A young and somewhat ignorant boy, Francois, meets a quiet Muslim girl, Zarka, after she stumbles and falls in front of his cocky buddies. The two become friends. In a matter of days Francois is shown a world he never thought existed.
Le Marais – dir. Gus Van Sant
A young man attempts to confess his feelings to another man in a printing studio. The two misunderstand each other.
Tuileries dir. Joel and Ethan Coen
A clueless American tourist gets in trouble with a young French couple while waiting for the train in the subway. He is given a painful lesson in French hospitality.
Loin du 16e dir. Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas
A Spanish maid living in Paris is torn between her son and a job that pays well. She goes for the job, but her thoughts are with her son.
Porte de Choisy dir. Christopher Doyle
A man attends a Chinese hair-salon. Is he searching for someone, or something? The most mysterious entry in Paris, je t'aime.
Bastille dir. Isabel Coixet
A man decides to leave his wife for another woman. He meets her in a chic Parisian bistro, but before he announces his decision his wife reveals that her days are numbered – she has cancer. The man changes his mind.
Place des Victoires dir. Nobuhiro Suwa
A woman who has lost her son is visited by a mysterious cowboy in the heart of Paris. Is he real?
Tour Eiffel dir. Sylvain Chomet
Two mimes fall for each other next to the Eiffel Tower.
Parc Monceau dir. Alfonso Cuarón
A father tries to reach his daughter in a conversation that leads nowhere fast.
Quartier des Enfants Rouges dir. Olivier Assayas
A young American actress is on a wild drug trip while shooting a film. Her life takes an unusual turn when she realizes where drugs have taken her.
Place des fêtes dir. Oliver Schmitz
Two Africans, a man and a woman, arrive at their dream destination. Both will be terribly disappointed.
Pigalle dir. Richard LaGravenese
An aging couple meets in a lonely locale in a district of Paris known for its sensual lights. They attempt to rekindle old sparks.
Quartier de la Madeleine dir. Vincenzo Natali
An American tourist encounters a beautiful vampire. He is immediately faced with a very difficult dilemma.
Père-Lachaise dir. Wes Craven
A British couple visiting the grave of Oscar Wilde is about to break up. The ghost of Oscar Wilde appears with a few encouraging words.
Faubourg Saint-Denis dir. Tom Tykwer
A blind man falls in love and breaks up with a beautiful woman. We learn how in flashbacks.
Quartier Latin dir. Gérard Depardieu and Frédéric Auburtin
A couple meets in a restaurant to finalize their divorce papers. The more they talk the more difficult it is to agree on anything.
14e arrondissement dir. Alexander Payne
An aging American woman visits Paris and realizes that her life has been a terrible disappointment. Instead of falling in love with a man, she falls in love with the city.
Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC, and granted a 1080p transfer Paris, je t'aime arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of First Look Studios.
Before I address the transfer of this Blu-ray release, I would like to quickly note that there are some minor errors with the technical specifications announced by the distributor, which I am going to address as I move further along in my analysis. First of all, unlike what the back cover of the disc states – an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 - Paris, je t'aime actually arrives in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Furthermore, the 1080p presentation is a vast improvement over the flawed transfer found on the SDVD released by the same distributor. Unlike the weak, standard-def, PAL-NTSC port revealing an abundance of "ghosting" issues and a dull looking color-scheme, the Blu-ray transfer is progressive and, obviously, eliminating all of the conversion flaws the SDVD was plagued with. Having seen this film theatrically, I can also confirm that the Blu-ray disc preserves the same look I witnessed in the cinema. Contrast and clarity here vary from segment to segment (different directors opted for different looks), but the manner in which they are captured is undoubtedly pleasing. This being said, you won't notice any digital sharpening, contrast boosting, or DNR manipulations either. The color-scheme is fantastic as well. In fact, depending on the director's preference, you would notice a variety of key colors (Vincenzo Natali's segment is a great example) symbolizing an important aspect of the director's vision about the City of Lights (love, pain, humiliation, fear, etc all seem to be linked to specific colors). This being said, neither edge-enhancement nor macroblocking appear to be issues of concern here. Finally, I did not detect any disturbing scratches, marks, or debris on the actual print either. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" release which you will not be able to play on Region-B hardware).
Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As I mentioned earlier, there are a few labeling errors on this Blu-ray disc, and this time around you will find two of those in the audio department. Unlike what the audio menu announces - English: Dolby True HD 5.1 and English: 2.0 - what we have here is French: Dolby True HD 5.1 and French: 2.0 (with bits of English and Arabic). This being said, Paris, je t'aime isn't a film that will impress you with an exceptional surround activity, or powerful bass sequences, but what is actually part of the film is treated very well. The Dolby True HD 5.1 reveals excellent clarity and depth, and I was certainly pleased with the balance between music and dialog. As I noted above, none of the eighteen segments would test the muscle of your audio equipment, though admittedly some reveal better activity in the rear channels than others. As far as the French 2.0 track is concerned, I could only state that it is certainly acceptable, as I did not detect any disturbing issues with it during the selective tests I performed, but not the preferable option here. This being said, I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, or hissings on the Dolby True HD 5.1 track either. Finally, First Look Studios have supplied optional English and Spanish subtitles for the main feature (which I find to be a bit too large for my taste).
Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The only supplemental materials you will find on this disc are a gallery of trailers for other First Look Studios projects and a featurette titled "At The Heart Of Paris je t'aime" where the directors participating in this project as well as some of the actors share their thoughts. Most of the comments are rather generic, but there are some interesting clarifications that are being made as well. It was truly fascinating to hear how everyone got involved with Paris, je t'aime and what the actual project meant to a lot of people from all around the world.
Paris, je t'aime Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A stylish, intriguing, and at times impossible to fully comprehend mosaic of short stories Paris je t'aime celebrates the City of Light as seen through the eyes of twenty one of modern cinema's best directors. The Blu-ray presentation, courtesy of First Look Studios, replicates the theatrical look of the film flawlessly. For those of you debating whether or not to upgrade from SDVD, yes, you should, this is certainly the best Paris je t'aime has looked in any region. Highly Recommended.
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