The surprise 2006 arthouse hit Paris, Je TAime was less a movie than a celluloid airport terminal where the Coen brothers, Olivier Assayas, Wes Craven and other unlikely fellow travelers came within a cut of crossing paths, devoting a short apiece (along with more than a dozen other international auteurs) to a different Parisian neighborhood. Now a 48 Hour Film Project-style franchise dubbed Cities of Love, the latest package assembles all-star casts (everyone from Shia LaBeouf, Christina Ricci and Orlando Bloom to Revenge of the Sith lovebirds Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen, albeit in separate films) under an unusual-suspects roster of directors than includes Head-Ons Fatih Akin, Devils on the Doorsteps Jiang Wen, Monsoon Weddings Mira Nair, All About Lily Chou-Chous Shunji Iwai and Rush Hour 1-3s Brett Ratner. (Alas, the commercial viability of the project hasnt secured a release for the best omnibus film of recent years: 2007s Chacun con cinema, which features very funny shorts from David Cronenberg, the Coens and Roman Polanski alongside a Sight and Sound polls worth of world-cinema masters.) Next in the series: Shanghai, Rio and Jerusalemand we hope it runs long enough for there to be a Nashville installment with Wong Kar-wai on Lower Broad, Carlos Reygadas at Princes Hot Chicken Shack, and Gaspar Noe shooting at the Opry, either figuratively or literally.
Jan. 1-7, 2010