‘Paris, Je T’aime’ next up in ’08 Cultural Film Series

Andrew Perez

“Paris, Je T’aime” is a unique viewing experience that showcases 20 of the world’s greatest filmmakers in the backdrop of one of the world’s greatest cities, Paris.

Award-winning filmmakers from across the globe contributed to this rare project.

Each of the directors in this 2006 film worked on one of the film’s 18 segments, all of which take place in different Parisian neighborhoods.

“Paris, Je T’aime,” or “Paris, I Love You,” features Academy Award-winners Ethan and Joel Coen, who tell the story of an American tourist who violates a cultural moré in Paris.

Academy Award-nominee Alfonso Cuarón, writer/director of “Children of Men” delivers an interesting piece that centers on the story of an older man and a younger women, filmed in one continuous shot.

Other directors include Gus Van Sant of “Good Will Hunting” fame; Alexander Payne, who wrote and directed the comedy “Sideways”; and German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, whose highly acclaimed film “Run Lola Run” won numerous awards, just to name a few.

All the directors involved in the project were given a time limit of about five minutes and a specific part of the city in which to film.

Amazingly, most of the directors worked independently in their projects with almost no contact with any of the other directors.

Moreover, the directors had to abide by a strict two- to three-day filming schedule.

While many of them opted for English in their short stories, the languages of French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin are also employed. 

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, who directed a segment about a long-married couple trying to spice up their marriage, talked about his experience.

“It’s fast and immediate gratification,” he said. “It’s not long and drawn-out. It’s fun because there’s not as much risk. It’s more purely a creative exercise than it is a life-defining experience.”

Director Wes Craven, whose works include “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Scream,” has also commented on the tough task of making a short film.

“They gave me I think 5:20 or maybe 5-and-a-half, but it needed to be basically in that ballpark,” he said.

“That was tough. There were things I had to take out and so forth because it would have been too long,” he said.

“But it’s like a haiku where somebody imposes a certain discipline that can lead to good things.”

These “good things” Craven alludes to are strewn throughout “Paris JeT’aime,” a truly unique film. This French import will be screened four times in the Connelly Cinema: Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and Monday at 7 p.m. 

Admission is free for students with ID and $5 for all others.

Elana Starr, the Cultural Film Series publicity director, will be present at the Monday showing to provide an introduction to the film and lead a discussion afterward. 

For more information, contact the communication department at x9-4750 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or consult the CFS Web page: www.culturalfilms.villanova.edu.