NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU by various directors (Madman DVD)

 |   |  1 min read

NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU by various directors (Madman DVD)

This compendium of distinct but sometimes overlapping slice-of-life stories comes from the same production team which presented Paris, Je t'aime. But here, rather neatly, they sidestep picking the most obvious "New York" writer/directors (Scorsese, Woody Allen, Larry David et al) in favour of those who bring a fresh, often immigrant, eye to the city that not only never sleeps but enjoys a love affair with itself.

These short and sharply drawn pieces traverse the city from Hasidic Jews to street hustlers (Ethan Hawke getting a brilliant and unexpected come-uppance from Maggie Q), from Chinatown (an affecting, missed relationship between an artist and a shopgirl) to a college student party in Tavern on the Green which has an unexpected twist from the girl in the wheelchair.

Twists are the norm here and while each separate story has love as its premise, love can take many forms.

The final piece however is the most irritating: Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman as an archetypal old Jewish couple at Coney Island. But before that there has been much magic at work, although those expecting tourist shots or some glamorous settings of the Big Apple may feel shortchanged, this is about people more than place.

And it has to be said that it is sometimes a little self-congratulatory: "God, I love New York" is a line that need not be said if the director has done the work well enough. That belongs in Sex and the City. 

That opinion is confirmed in one of the two shorts appended to the DVD release: Scarlett Johansson's written/directed These Vagabond Shoes with Kevin Bacon might purport to be a character study but it ultimately empty -- unless you want to watch Bacon eat a hot dog at great length.

The other by Andrey Zvgintsev is much more interesting. A young boy borrows a video camera from his dad and by chance secretly films from a distance two lovers breaking up. It is gentle and never feels intrusive or voyeuristic.

Yet, as with some of the pieces in New York, I Love You it serves to remind that any big city is full of small, deeply personal and often tragic stories and in that regard New York may be no different than any other.

What gives the city and this film resonance are those cross-cultural encounters and flashpoints.

A film of quiet magic and charm set against a city that can be brutal and unforgiving. Just the way New Yorkers like it.

Like the sound of this? Then have a look at this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

SKEPTICS: SHEEN OF GOLD a doco by SIMON OGSTON

SKEPTICS: SHEEN OF GOLD a doco by SIMON OGSTON

When this film -- Simon Ogston's stylish, thorough and often moving documentary about New Zealand's Skeptics -- appeared briefly in cinemas many years ago it vindicated longtime Skeptic fans who,... > Read more

TREME; THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, a series by DAVID SIMON (4-DVD set)

TREME; THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, a series by DAVID SIMON (4-DVD set)

As I write this, large areas of Louisiana have been under water this past week as the Mississippi rose and authorities opened floodgates so as not put pressure on the levees further down,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

45 SOUTH IN CONCERT by NEIL McKELVIE (Southland Musicians Club)

45 SOUTH IN CONCERT by NEIL McKELVIE (Southland Musicians Club)

There are a number of big and ambitious books about New Zealand popular music (like Chris Bourke's Blue Smoke and John Dix's Stranded in Paradise) and then there are others which are smaller and... > Read more

Souad Massi: Honeysuckle/Mesk Elil (2007)

Souad Massi: Honeysuckle/Mesk Elil (2007)

On her two previous albums it was evident that Algerian-born Massi was never going to conform to the prevailing sounds of rai and pop of her homeland. And on this instantly engaging album she... > Read more