Paris vs. New York

20 01 2011

“Don’t you think when you first come here, you come because this is the capitol of everything possible?”

Two great cities. Two amazing films. One hell of a traveler’s itch.
A collaboration of short films rolled into one about finding love, losing love, and about the cities that we love. Released in 2006 Paris Je T’aime is the first of the Cities of Love segments followed by New York, I love You, released in 2008. The films’ concept follow the lives of local Parisians and New Yorkers in showing us what (may be) the real deal of the respective cities. Each short film is about eight to ten minutes long and at some point intertwines with the rest of the other short films creating a story quilt of a city.

In Paris Je T’aime the shorts are created via its 18 arrondisements (originally 20, however 2 of the shorts did not blend in with the rest). In the 5th arrondisement, we follow young man sparking an interest to a young Muslim woman while in Le Marais (4th arrondisement) a young man believes he has found his soulmate through another young man who works at a print shop. Both shorts develop a sense of ‘love at first sight’ theme that goes beyond borders on rules about love.

Some romance are darker and deeper: In the 12th arrondisement we are lead to a married man who is falling out of love with his wife but made a decision that will change the course of their marriage. We then follow a young couple in the 10th arrondisement where a young blind man believed that his actress girlfriend falls out of love and breaks up with him.

A not so star-studded, Hollywood-flooded film it makes up for its collection of amazing directors: Coen Brothers, Alfonso CuarĂ³n, Wes Craven, Vincenzo Natali, it is no wonder the collaboration is critically acclaimed.

As you wander through arrondisements, chapters of peoples lives, and a platter full of Paris’ beauty, you wonder, ‘Who wouldn’t fall for the city of lights?’

“They say a lot of things about Paris…they say it’s a place where people come to discover something new about their lives. They say it’s a place where you can find love...

Like its Parisian version, New York, I Love You delivers stories through its boroughs. Unlike its Parisian version, it is not a big slice of apple pie; I guess New York figured, “They already know what we look like!”.

The film version focuses more on its real apples: The New Yorkers themselves. You think you know them? Not until you see the characters in their (literally) intertwined lives.

Take a look at “Camille“, a young and struggling musician finds a muse through a woman he has yet to meet, but will they ever? In “Love of Violets” a lady checks into a hotel where she befriends a bellboy to find a lot of similarties of him in her. In “Prom” a young man gets his wish fulfilled on a special night while on “Alchemy” a cassanova learns his lesson that sometimes his suave just doesn’t work.

In a city of millions one way or another these city slickers will cross paths. Don’t take your eyes off the screen because you’ll miss at where they did somehow. Unlike the former film, this version is more fast paced – a typical American style of film. Had it been set like its European version, which has a slower pace, then it would have been a snooze fest. But then again, New York itself is a city that never slowed down.

A great concept and I await the release of other versions in the Cities of Love series. What could be next? Wikipedia says that Rio, Shangai, and Jerusalem versions are in the works already and that Moscow, I Love You was already released in Russia in 2010. How about Madrid? Well, have you seen ‘Kilometro Cero’?

After seeing both films, it isn’t hard until you find yourself looking online for a plane ticket to come back to the first city you fell in love with. Perhaps they’re Paris or New York too.


A Town Like Paris

28 07 2009

“At the age of twenty-eight, Bryce Corbett was stuck in a dead-end job in London, nursing a broken heart and hungry for some kind- any kind- of change. On a whim he applied for a job in Paris, and before he knew it, found himself with a job offer in hand on his way to the City of Light.
So begins Corbett’s love affair with Paris- home of l’amour and la vie boheme- and he determines to make the city his own, no matter how many bottles of Bordeaux it takes. He rents an apartment in the trendy neighbourhood of Le Marais, happily settles into the French work/life balance (six weeks of paid vacation), braves the local gym (neon-spandex mandatory), and fumbles his way through more than a few awkward lessons in French love. From the smoky cafes to the glittering nightlife, Corbett samples everything his ewfound culture has to offer, apprearing in on a French television game show, hobnobbing with celebrities at Cannes, and attempting to parse the amusing nuances ehind French politics and why French women really don’t get fat. Still, he remains an ex-pat at heart – until he dinds himself falling in love with a Paris showgirl, a beauty whose sequin-clad high-kicks are the toast of the Champs Elysees, proving that in a town like Paris, you never know what will happen next…”

Mostly comedy, partly romance, and a great introduction to Paris, this book is hard to put down. Corbett takes us on his wild adventure about the city of Lights almost giving us hints of the how-to-become-a-Parisian during his journey and a few funny tidbits about one of the world’s most beloved city. He takes us to the backstreets, the underground, the secrets, the unkown, the experience of what it’s like to be an ex-pat in Paris, something that guidebooks just wouldn’t cut for you. This book is for lovers, ex-pats, and travel fans (though as my female friend have suggested, this literary is a guy’s book, once you read it you’ll know why) or just anyone who feels like they’re in the urge of doing something bold out of their ordinary lives to make it a little bit extra-ordinary.

That’s excactly what Bryce Corbett did.