New York, I Love You

New York, I Love You

I stepped into New York, I Love you not expecting too much.  It is the second on a road trip series of films called the “Cities of Love” series.  The series began with the much loved “Paris, Je T’aime,” featuring such iconic filmmakers as The Coen Brothers putting their spin on the city.  I was not one of said admirers.

Now this film has me thinking that maybe I should give it another chance.  Perhaps I just don’t understand the city…I’ve never been.  Perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind…

I was a happy go lucky dude walking into New York, and I dug it, I really dug it (even though the same critics that loved Paris are tearing through New York).  Part of the reason might be my familiarity of the city:  these films are certainly no postcard travelogues…you will not feel that you know the city if you did not going in.  Maybe I understood the characters better, I don’t know.

To be sure, the tales are mostly one dimensional.  Apparantly all you can do in this city of love is fall in love, or try and re-claim it.  If you already are in love…and happy about that…there isn’t much for you to do except create a routine and grow old.  I hope that this is not the case.

But to be fair, falling in love is one of the main ingredients of art:  in music, in books, in films.

Surely, some of these sketches are more interesting than others.  The lone Hughes brother in this hits a knockout in his segment with Bradley Cooper and Drea D’Matteo; not only in terms of the short itself; but it can almost play out as a film school lesson: How To Deal with that Pesky Dialogue Thing when making shorts with little time and money.”

Another thing I enjoyed about this film more than its predecessor is that most of these shorts appear to be less stand-alone (which causes the stand alone shorts to stick out more, though) and they integrate and cross back in forth in a way that gives more life to the city and its inhabitants that the film is telling us to follow.  While some dispute this technique, I feel that for a film that serves as a love letter for a city, it helps the viewer to feel he is mulling about in said city.

Missing are the key New York filmmakers…but that seems to be a thread in these films (thus far).  Both cities on this tour have spawned countless iconic cinematic voices…and both cities now have films that seem to seek out different filmmakers than them.  And perhaps that is right.  The filmmakers we’re talking about, and we know who they are (Scorsese, Allen,  Lee…) have already made their affection for the city that never sleeps quite clear.  Move aside and let others show some love…

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