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Paris Je T'Aime


Stars: Bob Hoskins, Fanny Ardant, Gerard Depardieu, Elijah Wood, Steve Buscemi, Ben Gazzara, Gena Rowlands, Marianne Faithfull, Gaspard Ulliel, Juliette Binoche, Miranda Richardson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Nick Nolte, Natalie Portman, Emily Mortimer, Rufus Sewell, Willem Dafoe, Leonor Watling, Margo Martindale

Director: Various (see text)

A film of miniatures by 18 directors from all over the world, this is intended as a love letter to Paris (set in 18 of its districts). But, though the music and photography do their best to convey the warmth and flavour of the city, all too often the vignettes prove too vapid and underfed to support them.

Several of these pocket dramas, especially the earlier ones, which get the film off to a weak start, are over almost before they're begun and lack the structure required to provide point and impact to a six-minute story.

The best episode, wordless apart from its narration, and directed by Spain's Isabel Coixet, concerns a husband (Sergio Castellito), who's about to leave his wife (Richardson) for another woman when she tells him she's dying. Tending to her in her last weeks, he falls in love all over again.

Only three others are really of interest. Hoskins and the luminous Ardant are a play-acting pair of ex-Thespians; Gazzara and Rowlands knowingly play divorcing oldsters who sadly indulge in a waspish war of words; and Martindale has some funny lines (and hilarious Pidgin French) as a frumpy middle-aged American who finds unexpected entertainment on her French visit.

On the whole, though, a poor return from such a distinguished collection of film-makers.

The directors are: Olivier Assayas, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Joel & Ethan Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Frederic Auburtin & Gerard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydes, Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Walter Salles & Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant

David Quinlan

France 2006. UK Distributor: The Works. Colour by Eclair.
121 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 24 Jun 2007