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Review: Paris, je t'aime

I have rarely been as excited about seeing a film as I was about this one, so it was a bit of a worry that I might be disappointed, but I'm very pleased to say with absolute certainty that there was not a thing disappointing about this brilliant film project. The idea is that a selection of the best film-makers in France and worldwide would make a short film each about Paris and love and the love of Paris. It is a treat for Francophiliacs and film buffs alike, as you can spot all the most wonderful Paris landmarks while keeping an eye out for your favourite film stars and directors.

Paris Je T'Aime is an independent/world cinema-lover's dream. For me almost every section held some excitement, whether it was an actor from or director of one of my favourite films. Just to explain how exciting this was, let me list all the actors and directors I jumped for joy at the appearance of, and the reasons why: Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham), Gus Van Sant (Elephant), Gaspard Ulliel (A Very Long Engagement), Elias McConnell (Elephant), Steve Buscemi (Ghost World), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat), Ludivine Sagnier (8 Femmes), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko), Elijah Wood (Everything Is Illuminated), Emily Mortimer (Bright Young Things), Rufus Sewell (A Knight's Tale), Alexander Payne (Election), Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Natalie Portman (Garden State). Most of those films are in my top picks of all time, so if you are still reading this, can I ask why? If you're not racing off to buy your cinema ticket or at least pre-order the DVD, this is really not the blog for you.

This film is really a summary of every reason that independent and world cinema is so many millions of times better than the commercial blockbusters. I can't see why anyone would rather watch the latter when actors, actresses and film-makers like these ones exist. The film is mostly in French, even some of the sections with non-French directors and actors, giving it a properly French feel as opposed to packaging Frenchness for an outside audience. France is probably my favourite country for films (think Science of Sleep, L'auberge Espagnol, Amelie etc.) but it's even better to have the special French touch mixed in with a variety of the most talented film-makers and actors in the whole world. It's like a pick and mix of film brilliance, and I couldn't have made it up better myself!

The unusual format of the film may prevent it from getting all the critical acclaim it deserves, but I hope everyone who even slightly enjoys foreign or independent films will see this, because it will open up a whole world of brilliant but often hidden talent that is so much more exciting than the endless series of remakes and sequels provided by the mainstream film outlets. As a taster, here are some of my favourite sections, which I have found on YouTube:

Faubourg Saint-Denis - beautiful and inspiring! Stars Natalie Portman, playing a similar character to Garden State.
Père-Lachaise - two lovely English actors show how British cinema could be just as great as French if we tried.
Tour Eiffel - I don't normally like mime but this is hilarious and wonderful.