Tag Archives: Nick Nolte

Paris Je T’Aime (2006)

Paris has been called many things. A little fiddling with Google search yields three immediate results: city of lights, city of art, city of love. The last is the most tenuous. Michael Schürmann (author of the travel guide Paris Movie Walks) says, “First of all, it is important that we agree on the sheer absurdity of the notion. Love is not something to which any city could or should stake an exclusive claim. There can be a ‘city of love’ as much as there can be a ‘city of indigestion’ or a ‘city of nosebleed’…” Indeed, Google “city of love” plus any beautiful city, and the search results are bound to be staggering (although you won’t find anything to top Paris’ 192,000,000 results). But no logic can ever stop international romantics from imagining that perfect Eiffel Tower picture with their beau. I imagine this sentiment is probably what sparked the concept behind Paris Je T’Aime.

I first encountered this movie in Under the Stars 2008. Wide fields and a black sky constitute a romantic evening, but scattered sound does not encourage an attentive audience, so I only really watched it this week with Maki. Paris Je T’Aime consists of eighteen short films set in the various arrondissements of Paris. Alongside an international ensemble cast (that I will not attempt to list here), the film also throws in entire sequences with mimes, vampires, and even the ghost of Oscar Wilde. I wanted to ask the directors: What were you smoking? (Incidentally, hashish also features prominently in one the shorts.)

This is not the kind of film you can extract a clear synopsis from. The lives we see here are very diverse, yet at the same time it feels as if we’re just watching one stream of activity—representative pulses of Parisian life. Paris Je T’Aime offers a lightheartedness not often found in other romantic dramas. It also contains drama, but somehow even that feels light. Here, everything is simpler than we make it out to be: people go through everything with a smile or tears and in the end it’s all the same—we are merely passing through. Not flippant, but open to the endless possibilities of life. In the face of such levity, nothing is too heavy a burden—not even loneliness, divorce, death, falling in and out of love. In the end all we have is nostalgia.

‘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.’

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Warrior (2011)

The title is a little off-putting. When Marck first invited me to the Aquila Legis premiere, I thought the movie would be about samurai. I expected it to involve a traditional warrior story set in Japan, complete with flying arrows and long-haired women. Instead I found myself watching a mixed martial arts film, a subgenre I am far less familiar with. Characteristically, Daryl, Tim, Eandra, Sarah, Jes, and I all arrived late, but from what I gather we didn’t miss all that much. Warrior pieces together the story of two brothers, Tommy (Tom Hardy) and Brendan (Joel Edgerton), who meet again several years after an emotionally violent separation. Sons of Paddy (Nick Nolte), a former alcoholic, the two struggle with deep resentments toward their father and toward each other. Amid this tension, they find themselves pitted against each other in a $5,000,000 winner-take-all tournament, both fighting for reasons they consider worth their lives.

I grew up liking action movies, but rarely do I encounter one nowadays that runs on more than just adrenaline. True, Warrior is not action-packed in the sense that it has no guns or car chases, but it offers viewers enough excitement from inside the ring. Plus the action here feels warranted, as a physical manifestation of inner turmoil. What I like most about the movie is that it exhibits an economy of words and background information. We are given very few details about the characters (although this may be because I missed the first part), fed to us in snippets of conversation. The delivery of information is deftly handled: the film reveals character histories without resorting to flashbacks or a lengthy exposition. As for the video montages, they were not anything new, nor were they particularly spectacular, but the sequences did serve as a smooth technique to move along the story.

The makers of Warrior obviously know how to build suspense. Although some parts of the ending are already evident from the beginning, this does not prevent the movie from creating mounting tension within the ring. The close-up shots make you feel as if they’re showing a real fight and you are there with them, holding your breath. Emotions swirl around heavily during the last few minutes, but Warrior handles drama well. Some parts actually got me teary-eyed, and I left the AFP theater satiated, knowing that I had just watched a good movie.

‘I don’t need you now. It’s too late now. Everything’s already happened.’