Romancing Paris - Exquisite Films about Paris

Romancing Paris in Cinema  

"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." - Ernest Hemingway

Paris is often regarded as the most glamorous, elegant and suave city on the planet. No other city in the world, with the notable exception of New York, has been more romanticized by film-makers around the world. Here's a look at some of such memorable works of modern times.

Paris, Je T'Aime ( French 2006)

Paris Je T'aime - Poster
Paris Je T'aime - Release Poster
Paris, Je T'Aime probably reflects the true-beauty of this wonderful city the best. In many ways, the ambitious effort resembles Paris itself. It has an ensemble cast of talented actors from different nationalities who are part of 18 beautiful segments directed by acclaimed film-makers from around the world such as Sylvain Chomet, Coen BrothersWes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Nobuhiro SuwaWalter Salles and Gus Van Sant. These segments are presented with the magnificent city of Paris as the canvas. Though some of the vignettes feel more like post-cards from Paris, most stand-out as beautiful human tales. My personal favorites are the segments "Quais de Seine" about a young man taunting the women passing by on the streets, who later strikes friendship with a young Muslim woman, and the segment "Place des fêtes" about a young Nigerian Man dying from a stab wound who's being handled by a female paramedic with whom he had fallen in love with on first sight a few days ago. Eventually, the paramedic recognizes the man, but it's too late. Though completely different stories, they all come together as a beautiful Kaleidoscopic vision of the magnificent city.

Amélie (French 2001)

Amelie starring Audrey Tatou
A visual delight, Amelie packs stunning cinematography and creative special effects that captures the common aspects of Parisian life and it's people in a interesting, smart and entertaining hue, with the Award winning sound and background music as the perfect companion. Amélie won 4 caesar Awards including Best Film, Director and Music and was also nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Foreign Feature film. Amelie is full of memorable characters, but it's really Audrey Tautou who carries the movie with her innocent charm. Amelie was a breath of fresh air in the world of French cinema; charming in its surrealism and blissfully metaphysical in it's appeal. (Read Review)

Paris (French 2008)

Paris - 2008 French Movie starring Juliette Binoche, Melanie Laurent and Romain Duris
Paris is Writer-Director Cédric Klapisch's multi-character mosaic set in Paris about love, tragedy and hope.  We have a young cabaret dancer Pierre (Romain Duris) who is diagnosed with a heart condition and needs a heart transplant, and his elder caretaker divorced sister Élise (Juliette Binoche), a history professor Roland (Fabrice Luccini) going through his mid-life crisis who's also a presenter of a new TV show unraveling the history of the great city and is infatuated with one of his young students (Melanie laurent), Roland's polar-opposite 'normal' brother with a pregnant wife and others. These multitude of characters and their stories presents important aspects of life in Paris and the inherent paradoxes of their existence highlighted through the characters who are rich and poor, young and old, and classical and modernist, and in effect presenting a interesting perspective on the cosmopolitan city. Paris is largely character-driven and the plot elements at times gets lost amidst all the people, but it's nonetheless a very interesting film and definitely worth your time.

2 Days in Paris (Deux jours à Paris) (2007)

2 Days in Paris - Julie Delpy and Adam Goldberg
2 Days in Paris is a French-English romantic-comedy drama starring Julie Delpy, the talented French-American actress who also wrote, edited, scored the music, directed and produced the film (phew!). Also starring as her neurotic boyfriend is Adam Goldberg as Jack. The story revolves around the french born photographer Marion (Julie Delpy) and Jack's 2 day stay-over at Paris, while returning to New-York after a disastrous trip to Venice in an effort to re-ignite the passion of their relationship. Much of the film's humor revolves around the culture clash as Jack tries to feel his way around in Paris, living with Marion's parents and meeting Marion's numerous ex-boyfriends, probably every single artistic young man in Paris. Marion's parent also entertain with their tales of 'rebellion' in the 60's, but leave Jack stunned to silence. 2 Days in Paris is in stark contrast to romantic and nostalgic 2004 hit Before Sunset (which also starred Julie Delpy), with it's acidic humor and a more realistic take on the relationship between the two leads.

Before Sunset ( 2004)

Before Sunset starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke
Before Sunset is Richard Linklater's sequel to his 1995 Romantic hit Before Sunrise. Nine years after Ethan Hawke (a young American) met Julie Delpy (young French Woman) on a train and spent the night together in Vienna, the two meet each other again in Paris for an afternoon together. As they speak about their lives since the last meeting, they traverse various venues in Paris such as a garden, cafe and move around in a excursion boat and a hired cab. Continuing with their chemistry from Before Sunrise, Before Sunset feels more realistic and wiser as both the characters have matured, and the fact that Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke share the screenplay credits with Richard Linklater, the dialogues seem more natural and conversations feel more heart-felt. The movie was widely acclaimed and was nominated for a  Academy Award in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

There's no denying that Before Sunset is a far more classical and matured work of art compared to the brilliant predecessor.