Olivier Assayas, Frederic Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron, Gerard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne, Bruno Podalydes, Walter Salles, Oliver Schmitz, Noburhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas, Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Sant
Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. France/Liechtenstein/Switzerland, 2006. Victoires International, Pirol Stiftung, Canal+, Arrival Cinema LLC, X-Filme Creative Pool. Transitions by Emmanuel Benbihy, Screenplay by Bruno Podalydes, Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Gus Van Sant, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Walter Salles, Daniela Thomas, Christopher Doyle, Rain Li, Gabrielle Keng, Isabel Coixet, Noburhiro Suwa, Sylvain Chomet, Alfonso Cuaron, Olivier Assayas, Oliver Schmitz, Richard LaGravenese, Vincenzo Natali, Wes Craven, Tom Tykwer, Gena Rowlands, Alexander Payne, Nadine Eid. Cinematography by Maxime Alexandre, Michel Amathieu, Pierre Aim, Bruno Delbonnel, Eric Gautier, Frank Griebe, Eric Guichard, Jean-Claude Larrieu, Denis Lenoir, Rain Li, Pascal Marti, Tetsuo Nagata, Matthieu Poirot-Delpech, David Quesemand, Pascal Rabaud, Michael Seresin, Gerard Sterin. Produced by Emmanuel Benbihy, Claudie Ossard. Music by Pierre Adenot, Michael Andrews, Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, Tom Tykwer. Production Design by Bettina von den Steinen. Costume Design by Olivier Beriot. Film Editing by Luc Barnier, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Stan Collet, Simon Jacquet, Anne Klotz, Isabel Meier, Alex Rodriguez, Hisako Suwa. Toronto International Film Festival 2006.
Every heart is beating in sync in the City of Lights (and Lovers) in this wonder of a film. Producers Claudie Ossard and Emmanuel Benbihy invited 21 directors from around the world to create a 5-minute film about love set in Paris, each one taking place in a different neighbourhood, and the highly satisfying result is a veritable mini-film festival, a myriad of treats all for the price of one ticket. We experience love at first sight, love in bloom, fleeting moments of sympathy, deep expressions of grief, love struggling to survive and love past its bitter end as we move from corner to corner observing a wide assortment of characters and situations. A woman (Juliette Binoche) mourns the loss of her son to the point of near-madness, a father (Nick Nolte) expresses his devotion to his daughter (Ludivine Sagnier) while walking through the Parc Monçeau, an actress (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has a moment of tenderness with her drug dealer, a philandering husband (Sergio Castellitto) rediscovers his love for his wife (Miranda Richardson), a maid (Catalina Sandino Moreno) fights to keep body and soul together for her infant daughter, an engaged couple (Rufus Sewell, Emily Mortimer) search the cemetary in Pere-Lachaise for a particular celebrity grave, a divorcing couple (Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara) meets for one final drink, and a Denver, Colorado tourist (Margo Martindale) discovers a love for the city itself; these are just some of the delights this film has to offer. The happiest part is that all the films are, to varying degrees, good. Different audience members will have their individual favourites, but most would have to agree that they all work together beautifully, varying in tone, style and emotional impact until the kick-ass finale (by Alexander Payne) that encapsulates the entire experience so very beautifully.