Monday, June 26, 2006

La Fête du Cinéma, Part II

Theme: The two greatest cities in the world.

I saw two movies tonight. One made me ache for New York and the other made me never want to leave Paris.

Kramer vs. Kramer caught me off-guard. I hadn't read up on it ahead of time and, for some reason, I was expecting a light-hearted comedy. I was quite wrong. It's tragic and sad and difficult to watch at points and entirely worth it. Take Big Daddy, subtract Adam Sandler and all of the stupidity that comes with him, turn the melodrama into sincerity, transform the Hooters references into a hilarious conversation between a 7 year-old boy and a naked lady, and then make it great, and you have Kramer vs. Kramer. There's nothing dynamic or new about the film's style, but its content is so real and vital that, as hard and painful as it looked, part of me wanted to live the life I saw in it.

With Paris, je t'aime, on the other hand, I knew what I was getting into. 19 5-minute shorts, each by a different director, each on a different area of the city.

The list of directors is as follows (alphabetical order):
Olivier Assayas
Frédéric Auburtin
Gurinder Chadha
Sylvain Chomet
The Coen Brothers
Isabel Coixet
Wes Craven
Alfonso Cuarón
Gérard Depardieu
Christopher Doyle
Richard LaGravenese
Vincenzo Natali
Alexander Payne
Bruno Podalydès
Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas
Oliver Schmitz
Nobuhiro Suwa
Tom Tykwer
Gus Van Sant

In most cases, the notable directors just did short versions of what they always do - Tykwer's short is especially very reminiscent of his previous work on Run Lola Run - but they did it well and it turned out to be a charming film with a little bit of everything (it even had vampires).

More than anything else, it made me realize how much I've lived in this city, more here than probably anywhere else. I could see bits of myself and my life in most (not the one with the vampires, sadly) of the brief snapshots, and it felt nice, especially since I was sure that most of the people in the theater probably felt the same way. For that reason, I kind of doubt that this film will make it over to the United States, but if it does, go see it.

Hell, by the time it would come out over there I'd probably be back, so invite me along.

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