Chock-a-block with recognizable directors and thespians, Paris, je t'aime is a series of vignettes commissioned by producers Emmanuel Benbihy and Claudie Ossard. Each of its 18 segments is ostensibly connected through the concept of L'amour in the City of Lights (introduced, dazzling, under millennial fireworks), which is presumably more spiritually satisfying or noteworthy than the provincial love practiced in, say, Lexington, Kentucky. As a personalized triptych through Paris, the city and entity, there's not much here; read Edmund White's Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris if you're in the market for local color. And taken as a whole, cogent piece of work, Paris makes an underwhelming survey of the state of the art house - nothing here even whiffs at the rarified abjection found in Antonioni's segment in 1953's similarly conceived, Rome-set L'Amore in citta.
But the good news about a crowded anthology picture like this is that when you're having a dreary time, all you have to do is hang on for another seven minutes for something more interesting to come along. If Walter Salles's didactic, socially conscious rumination on the ergonomics of nanny labor, "Loin du 16eme," strikes you as flat, just stick it out, and in no time you'll be on to Christopher Doyle's whackjob "Porte de Choisy," watching Barbet Schroeder shimmy around a kaleidoscopic Chinatown fashion show.
Click here to read the rest of Nick Pinkerton's review of Paris, je t'aime.