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 Cuarón, 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.





Heaven on Earth is an awfuly big secret

2 09 2009
 
“I just feel like everyone tries to do something different, but you always wind up doing the same damn thing”

 

When Richard lands in Bangkok, all he wanted is to have an adventure – an ultimate adventure. Not the typical tourist destination, not the the typical prepackaged resort, nor the typical backpacker’s route – but a once in a lifetime experience that travelguides just won’t cut it. The problem is, everybody seems to be going to the same place and doing the same thing- until he meets Daffy (Robert Carlyle).
Daffy speaks about a paradise that is a myth in the tourist world, a paradise that only a few deserve to know and only a handful could find. Then Daffy hands Richard a map to a supposedly secret island where you will find a beach.

But it isn’t just any beach, it is the ultimate perfect beach.

Now that fate has handed him an adventure he couldn’t surpass, Richard (played by Titanic star Leonardo DiCaprio) recruits a French couple; beautiful Françoise (Virginie Ledoyen) and sweet caring boyfriend Étienne (Guillaume Canet star in Joyeux Noël) to come with him to the island and search for this paradise.

“My name is Richard. So what else do you need to know? Stuff about my family, or where I’m from? None of that matters. Not once you cross the ocean and cut yourself loose, looking for something more beautiful, something more exciting and yes, I admit, something more dangerous. So after eighteen hours in the back of an airplane, three dumb movies, two plastic meals, six beers and absolutely no sleep, I finally touch down; in Bangkok. “

But like any paradise it has its price, as beautiful as it may seem it is far from perfect. Shark infested waters, untrustworthy tribe, a dangerous secret – a perfect cocktail for a ride you’ll never forget. Based on the book of the same name by Alex Garland, The Beach is a story of an American backpacker (in the novel he is British) trying to escape reality looking for a thrill and ends up in an adventure he will never forget. Like most backpackers in Thailand he is captivated by its beauty and charm. Every traveler wants to find his own paradise and Richard is determined to find his own in the exotic land of coconut trees and buddhas, and will all of these comes a deception that in escaping reality perilous forces is at hand and only a few brave will conquer the courage to face them.

The Lord of the Flies inspired story depicts a dog-eat-dog world even in paradise. It isn’t easy finding a peace of heaven you can call your own and that essentially, every one of us is looking for an escape. Enjoy the coconut trees, pristine waters, white sand beaches and the beauty of Thailand in this film, in a blink of an eye it may soon be gone from your movie screen.