What is missing in Paris Je T'Aime, a film that was released last year and is made up of 20 short films by established directors from around the world, can be found in Paris Vu Par, a film that was released in 1965 and contains six short films by French directors of the New Wave moment. The missing element is a sense of balance between the city's chaos and its stability. In Paris Je T'Aime, all we saw and felt was the city's chaos, and so no real connection was established between the viewer and the particulars of Paris. In Paris Vu Par, a perfect balance is struck between the big city and individuals, the cityscape and interior spaces, the public and private.
In one apartment, a bourgeois family is slowly but surely falling apart (at the dinner table, the wife and husband debate with no real emotion or concern about important matters like the death penalty). In another apartment, a young dishwasher prepares pasta for a proud but aging prostitute. In a loud and cluttered workshop, a middle-aged metal worker learns that his young American girlfriend has been unfaithful to him. In a men's clothing store, a clerk fears that he has accidentally killed a homeless man near the Arc de Triomphe.
The greatness of this film experiment is primarily located in the ease with which the directors move from the endless rooftops and busy streets of Paris to these intimate moments. Indeed, without this movement (from the total to the single) great thought and art would not be possible.