Paris je t'aime is a film made up of 18, five-minute stories set in different neighborhoods of Paris. Characters find the beginning of love, the end of love, and the mysteries of love in these assorted vignettes. There are soft-spoken French actors and the more rambunctious American actors. There is a cameo by Oscar Wilde, a vampiress, a mime, and, of course, the arrondisements of the city.
My two favorites just happen to be the final two sketches:
In "Quartier Latin", Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands play a long-married and yet long-separated couple who meet in a cafe the night before they are to sign their final divorce papers. Gérard Depardieu (it is always nice to see him) plays the patron of the cafe. The couple's reunion is bittersweet as there is still much affection between the two.
In "14e Arrondissement", Margo Martindale plays an older solo tourist on her first visit to Paris. Her scenes are narrated with a voice-over of the report that she has written for her French class recounting her days in the city. As she sits on a park bench taking in all that is around her, she thinks:
Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I'd never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn't know what. Maybe it was something I'd forgotten or something I've been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.
Ah, oui. Paris, je t'aime!