Cities of Love New York, I Love You
1: dir Jiang Wen
scr Jiang Wen, Hu Hong, Meng Yao
with Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Andy Garcia
2: dir Mira Nair
scr Suketu Mehta
with Natalie Portman, Irrfan Khan
3: dir-scr Shunji Iwai
with Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci
New York I Love You
Call waiting: Ricci and Bloom

4: dir Yvan Attal
scr Olivier Lecot, Yvan Attal
with Ethan Hawke, Maggie Q, Chris Cooper, Robin Wright Penn
5: dir Brett Ratner
scr Jeff Nathanson
with Anton Yelchin, Olivia Thirlby, James Caan, Blake Lively
6: dir Allen Hughes
scr Xan Cassavetes, Stephen Winter
with Bradley Cooper, Drea de Matteo
7: dir Shekhar Kapur
scr Anthony Minghella
with Julie Christie, Shia LaBeouf, John Hurt
New York I Love You
Past and present: Christie and LaBeouf

8: dir-scr Natalie Portman
with Carlos Acosta, Taylor Geare, Jacinda Barrett
9: dir-scr Fatih Akin
with Ugur Yucel, Shu Qi, Burt Young
10: dir-scr Joshua Marston
with Cloris Leachman, Eli Wallach

New York I Love You
Grand day out: Leachman and Wallach

11: dir Randy Balsmeyer
scr Hall Powell, Israel Horovitz, James Strouse
with Emilie Ohana, Justin Bartha, Eva Amurri
prd Emmanuel Benbihy, Marina Grasic
release US 16.Oct.09,
UK 8.Oct.10
09/US 1h43

portman cooper
hawke wright penn
See also:
Paris Je T'Aime (2007) Rio I Love You (2016)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
New York I Love You There are 11 captivating short films in this anthology, the second in the Cities of Love series by producers Benbihy and Grasic. But this collection isn't quite as varied or engaging as PARIS JE T'AIME.

All of these stories take place in Manhattan, with only one or two brief forays into other boroughs, and they all centre around relatively well-off people, mainly white or Asian. They're also quite serious and emotional, with only brief moments of humour dotted here and there, although some make us smile more than others. Each is about a male-female relationship--marriages, brief encounters, possibilities, life-long companionship. Most have a somewhat gimmicky twist, and a few are intriguingly oblique.

Only a couple films stand out. The most striking visually is Kapur's segment, starring the radiant Christie as a woman in an old-world hotel being tended by a foreign bellhop (LaBeouf). It also feels the most interesting, as the looseness of the late Minghella's script allows the actors to invest subtext into every shot. Also memorable is Marston's slice of old-age life with the fantastic Leachman and Wallach bickering and bantering as they stroll to Coney Island.

The best gag goes, unsurprisingly, to Ratner. And it's also unsurprising that Nair manages to capture a rich blend of ethnic and religious diversity in her understated short. Attal has actually made two films, as Hawke and Q offer a clever take on flirting while Chris Cooper and Wright add weight to their telling glimpse of marriage. Leave it to Bradley Cooper and de Matteo to provide the lustiest segment, written and assembled with wit and skill. While Portman's enigmatic and elegant short packs a quiet punch.

Holding everything together are Balsmeyer's transitional scenes, starring Ohana as a videographer collecting the stories for an art performance and meeting several of the other characters along the way. The pieces that are thus loosely intertwined are filmed with the same warm cinematography and silky-smooth editing. It's just a shame there isn't more variety in the geography, filmmaking styles and in the kinds of characters on screen. Because even though each segment is rather wonderful in its own way, as a whole this feels like a side of New York that we've perhaps already seen on screen.

cert 15 themes, language, innuendo 6.Jul.10

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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall