11.16.2015

Paris, Je T'aime

Paris is a city most dear to my heart. Five years ago, as a student traveling abroad, I lived right in the heart of the city for some of the best months of my life. Riding the subways, eating the delectable food, admiring the stunning architecture--every moment spent there became a most treasured memory. Learning of the terrorist attacks that took place there on Friday was absolutely horrifying. A grief for the city and the people I loved struck me deeply, so I turned to solace where I often go: film. Through the art of film, Paris has been immortalized in a way that is perhaps more beautiful than any other city (possibly only equaled by New York City.) To remember and honor this city as it truly is, I wanted to share my five favorite films about Paris.

Amélie

Seeing the world through the eyes of our heroine, Amélie, in the film of the same name is an absolute delight. She sees beauty and opportunity in every moment, and through her, the audience sees the streets of Montmarte light up with potential. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet injects his film with vibrancy and color. The Paris he creates through his heroine's eyes is enchanting and full of good. For Amélie, her life is a chance to help others, and improve their lives for the better. Amélie is a gorgeous slice of Parisian life; a must for Francophiles and lovers of cinema alike.

Ratatouille

Without a doubt, one of the BEST things about Paris is the food. From the savory to the sweet, the cuisine you eat in Paris will undoubtedly be among the tastiest you will ever eat. The filmmakers behind Ratatouille undoubtedly knew this fact, and I'm convinced created an entire movie to celebrate it. The film is consistently charming, clever and chuckle-worthy, and in my opinion, one of Pixar's finest. As a movie that glorifies both Paris and its fabulous cuisine, it can't be beat.

Moulin Rouge

A movie that celebrates the virtues of truth, beauty, freedom, and above all, love probably couldn't have taken place in any other city. Paris is a perfect match for the ideals of both this movie and its wide-eyed protagonist. Baz Luhrmann's version of Paris is a magical and dazzling place where true love can conquer all. He paints the past Paris as almost a fairy tale kingdom--where the Cinderellas happen to be courtesans, and the stepmothers are evil dukes. While the "happily ever afters" here might actually end in sadness, the real celebration is of the beauty we're all capable of coming upon during our lives.
Before Sunset

Paris serves as the backdrop for a deeply intense personal conversation between former lovers Jesse and Celine in Richard Linklater's sequel to Before Sunrise. Killing time before a flight, the two explore the city while catching up on the events that have occurred since their last encounter. In each of Linklater's Before films the city becomes a character, and Sunset's Paris is no different. There's no better city in the world to encourage affection and intimacy than Paris, and naturally, it serves to bring the characters closer. The city of love tends to do that in both real life and the world of cinema!

Midnight in Paris

No one has captured the beauty of Paris quite like Woody Allen did in Midnight in Paris. The first four minutes of the film are nothing but loving portraits of the city. Some moments are still, full of solitude, while others portray the bustling busyness of any big city. No matter the moment--whether it's when we see Paris in those first four minutes or any other time throughout the entire film, the city is glistening. This is, without a doubt, Woody Allen's love letter to Paris. Allen depicts the city the way those who love the city see it and remember it: shining like a diamond.

The city of light may have gone dark for a day, but its spirit will never be dimmed. Whether in movies, or in life Paris will always be the pinnacle of beauty and grace.

PS, I'm gonna be writing articles at The News Hub as well! So check out my article there if you want to see it look all shiny and pretty!

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