Paris has always had a mythic image as the city of love. Paris, je t’aime (French for “Paris, I love you”) consists of a celebration of that spirit of love. The film’s eighteen vignettes, each with a different crew, taking place in a different arrondissement, tell stories about the transformative, life-affirming power of love: romantic love; familial love; even a generalized love of humanity. Of course, in keeping with Turban Decay’s raison d'êtrei, I’ll center on the second of Paris, je t’aime’s vignettes, the one that directly involves Muslims. Quais de Seine, directed by Paul Mayeda Berges and Gurinder Chadha, details the beginning of a friendship between a white adolescent and an Arab Muslim woman.
|… Even though it initially looks like a Subway commercial.|
|I need to master this look for when I have a daughter.|
|“Hey, girl, I figured out a great way to overshare my sexual frustrations, while at the same time incurring your dislike and abject discomfort! I call it ‘catcalling!’”|
As a passerby walks by Zarka, he mutters, “You’re in France now,” as if to say that wearing a hijab makes her less French. Arnaud warns François, “Fool, you touch her and Osama will personally bomb your ass!” But Zarka has no discernible accent and no apparent sympathy for terrorists. There should exist no reason that her faith should make her any less French. She explains, “When I wear this I feel part of a faith, an identity.” Zarka’s hijab makes her feel like part of something bigger than herself. To her, that constitutes true beauty more than any thong or lip gloss.
|Can’t think of any witticisms. I just really like this image.|
In a country with a Muslim population of upwards of 15%, this remains a lesson worth remembering. Muslims coexist with the rest of Paris. They have hopes and struggles and fears, just like everyone else. They desire liberty, equality, and fraternity as much as any of the other ethnic or religious groups that make Paris… Paris. In the wake of these tragic, senseless killings in Paris, I hope more than anything that lessons like those in Paris, je t’aime remain relevant, that Paris forever remains the city of love.
i Indulge me; I don't review a lot of French films.