The short film format is a deceptively challenging one and it's a humbling experience to watch several of the world's best contemporary filmmakers tackle it and, quite often, fail.
The most irritating chapters in this omnibus of roughly-five-minute odes to the city of love are Christopher Doyle's film-school-undergrad effort at avant-gardism set in a Chinese quarter, Sylvain Chomet's cutesy-quirky romance between two mimes and (the absolute nadir!) Wes Craven's vulgar patchwork of crude exposition and awkward sarcasm exchanged between a British couple visiting Oscar Wilde's grave.
Among the agreeable-if-facile contributions, you can count Gurinder Chadha's pro-hijab dialectic, Tom Tykwer's frenetic love story about Natalie Portman and a blind boy and Gus Van Sant's gimmicky account of a sleeveless Gaspard Ulliel chatting up a shy gallery assistant.
Among the more effective snippets are the Coen Brothers' sardonic pitting of Steve Buscemi's nebbish against raging Parisian hormones, the Gena Rowlands-penned, Gérard Depardieu and Frédéric Auburtin-directed meeting between two septuagenarian divorcés and Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas' simple, startlingly clever evocation of an immigrant worker's experience.
And finally, the collection's true gem comes at the end: Alexander Payne's witty, generous essay of a dowdy Denver-mailwoman's six-day holiday trip.dir:
Olivier Assayas, Frédéric Auburtin, Emmanuel Benbihy, Gurinder Chadha, Sylvain Chomet, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Isabel Coixet, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Gérard Depardieu, Christopher Doyle, Richard LaGravanese, Vincenzo Natali, Alexander Payne,
Bruno Podalydès, Walter Salles,
Oliver Schmitz, Nobuhiro Suwa, Daniela Thomas,
Tom Tykwer, Gus Van Santcast:
Bruno Podalydès, Florence Müller, Leila Bekhti, Cyril Descours, Marianne Faithfull, Gaspard Ulliel, Elias McConnell, Steve Buscemi, Julie Bataille, Axel Kiener, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Barbet Schroeder, Li Xin, Sergio Castelito, Miranda Richardson, Leonor Watling, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Hippolyte Girardot, Paul Putner, Yolande Moreau, Nick Nolte, Ludivine Sagnier, Bob Hoskins, Fanny Ardant, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lionel Dray, Aissa Maiga, Seydou Boro, Elijah Wood, Olga Kurylenko, Natalie Portman, Melchior Beslon, Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Margot Martindale