Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Great Movie Scenes: Paris Je T'aime

Wendy and I just watched Paris Je T'Aime, a movie first recommended to me by Dug, who has a way of recommending movies that makes you feel like a philistine if you don't see the movie. To keep my liberal arts college degree valid, I saw the movie soon afterwards, and then I just saw it again on video. Dug was right. It's worth seeing. The movie consists of 18 vignettes set in Paris. Each short movie is about five minutes long and directed by a different person.

My favorite was the last segment about an American tourist who visits Paris by herself. I love the way the short movie plays with -- and against -- the Ugly American stereotype. Her accent is hilariously bad, and she seems to lack the sensibilities to appreciate French culture, as evidenced by her frumpy tourist outfit and her claim that she doesn't enjoy French food as the camera zooms in on a plate of half-eaten hamburger and french fries. Near the end of the segment, her narration becomes more lyrical as she describes a simple experience that makes Paris come alive for her. It's beautiful.

What I like most about the short movie is its approach to loneliness, which is surprisingly difficult for directors to capture without falling into cliché or pathos. This segment captures the melancholy resilience of someone living her life alone.


  1. i'm looking forward to seeing that movie. btw, you're right about the way that scene conveyed loneliness. are you sure you're not this guy? http://soveryalone.com/

  2. That was my favorite bit too.

  3. I keep meaning to leave a note on Harlan's blog. He's having a rough go of it.

  4. ze franch are peeegs.

    In Mexico, I became more lost than I thought possible, and found out that I am who I am, which is exaclty the way I act. In some ways it's very frustrating, but also reassuring.

  5. A few people said they liked the Coen brothers clip from Paris Je T'aime best, but they're wrong. Payne's blew all the others away.

    Margo Martindale, the actress who played the paramour with "joy and sadness -- but not great sadness", has a small role in The Savages. Payne was an executive producer, so he must have arranged it. The two leads, Kaufman and Linney, were clearly the focal points, though, and both were great. I'd say it was sad and uplifting, but not greatly uplifting. Still, it all worked because the character profiles were so well done.

  6. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!