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Paris, Je T'Aime
Actors: Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Gerard Depardieu, Ben Gazzara, Nick Nolte, Natalie Portman, Gena Rowlands, Elijah Wood, et. al.
Paris, Je T'Aime provides eighteen love stories, set in eighteen Paris boroughs, by twenty directors, in two hours. It's a harmless romp around one of the world's great cities by good actors guided by competent directors. Although assigned an R (restricted) rating by the MPAA for language and brief drug use, Paris, Je T'Aime is an inoffensive film as suitable for family viewing by anyone old enough to follow subtitles as it is for a first date.
While there's nothing in Paris, Je T'Aime that isn't done better elsewhere, few films pack as much into two hours. There's something here for everyone: comedy, tragedy, romance, melodrama, multiculturalism, murder, vampires, beautiful people and locales, Oscar Wilde, mimes, and, for the cinephiles, winks to better films. Each segment is only about five minutes long, so if you don't like any particular segment, you only have to wait a couple minutes for something else to come along that you may like better. Further, because there's no meaningful continuity between segments, you're free to enter and leave the viewing area, skip forward, and stop and restart, without feeling you're missing anything essential.
A romp for viewers, Paris, Je T'Aime is more a working holiday for its actors and directors. The actors give their lines with an adequate level of believability that never threatens to upstage their co-stars, and the directors competently execute scenes that move briskly from start to finish without giving away any novel ideas or techniques that they might wish to use in a future feature film.
If you're looking for an inoffensive film to fill two hours, you could do a lot worse than Paris, Je T'Aime.
The Blu-ray release of Paris, Je T'Aime is presented on a single-sided 25Gb Blu-ray disc.
Though the cover claims this release is 2.35:1, the actual aspect ratio is closer to 1.85:1 offering just a bit more information on the sides than the 1.78:1 DVD release. Unlike last year's DVD release which was interlaced, this release is progressive. The 1080p image is sharp and detailed and overall the colors are good.
The original mixed French and English audio is offered in 5.1 Dolby True HD or 2.0 DD. The 5.1 mix has a good sound balance that won't have you reaching to adjust the volume between segments. Dialogue is bright and clear above the background noise.
For some unfathomable reason the only subtitle options on this release are Spanish and English SDH for the hearing impaired. The lack of standard English subtitles is a hugely disappointing oversight that makes this release unsuitable for most North American viewers.
The only extra beyond trailers for other First Look releases is a standard definition 'making-of' featurette in which the actors and directors exclaim how lucky and pleased they are to be in Paris and working with one another, interspersed with some run-of-the-mill behind the scenes footage. The featurette is edited such that no one is compelled to string together more than a half-dozen lines before the cut to someone else mouthing pretty much the same sentiments.
Paris, Je T'Aime is slightly highbrow without being complex. It's a good fit for an audience of mixed or unknown preferences that includes people that might be offended or bored by a more focused film selection. Pop it in the player and it'll move you through a pleasant two hours. Every DVD library should include a film or two like Paris, Je T'Aime. Unfortunately, the lack of standard English subtitles is a terrible oversight that makes this release unsuitable for most North American viewers. So while the DVD release is recommended, the Blu-ray release is not.