Paris Je T’aime

This jaunty anthology of five-minute movies from multiple makers, perhaps necessarily a mixed bag, would like to propose that every arrondissement (or, well, 18 of 20, at least) has its own sort of love story. You’ll notice it’s not Paris, Je Vous Aime; the spirit here is one of familiarity, which sometimes reads as cheap romance and might do with a dash of formal respect. But it has some true and beautiful moments, economically performed (merci, toujours, Madame Binoche). With one notable exception in Wes Craven, who floats love lessons from Oscar Wilde, the name filmmakers tend simply to do what they do: Gus Van Sant thumb-suckingly fetishizes a pair of young men; Alfonso Cuaron rolls out a dim tracking shot with a self-pleasing plot twist; the Coen Brothers get glibly overwrought, gently debasing a wordless Steve Buscemi; Alexander Payne shows compassion for a lonely, lumpen, middle-aged American heartlander on vacation. That last one, which plays last, nicely subverts facile Francophilic notions of beautiful people in happy-ending movie love. As the film’s last word, it’s le mot juste.