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City Slicksters: “New York I Love You”

City Slicksters: "New York I Love You"

Thanks to the surprise success of producer Emmanuel Benbihy’s Paris, je t’aime, we will now have to endure a series of planned omnibus-film tributes to cities around the world clunked together with submissions from various trendy directors. After Paris, New York is the brow-furrowing first of these. Call them glimpses, snapshots, whatever: the short films in New York I Love You are really just a bunch of undernourished anecdotes that together comprise a tedious tangle of strictly hetero couplings meant to stand in for the contemporary Manhattan experience. That this supposed love letter to New York as a city of chance, romance, and possibility cannot make room for a single same-sex tale in any of its twelve threads reveals its limited vision. Those outside of the Big Apple might take to the shallow urban exoticism this film offers, but real New Yorkers, as well as anyone with a functioning bullshit detector, will shudder. Oh the wide web of interconnections we (or at least some of us) weave. Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of New York I Love You.

UPDATE: 10/20! In case you didn’t get enough hate, here’s Justin Stewart on New York, I Love You:

New York, I Love You follows 2006’s Paris, je t’aime as the second entry in a city tribute series created by Emmanuel Benbihy, who is producing along with Crash‘s Marina Grasic. Collective works with multiple directors, the films will next blow kisses to Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Jerusalem, and Mumbai. My humble admonition to Benbihy and Grasic: IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO STOP. A whimsical idea in theory—and a throwback to omnibus films like RoGoPaG (1962) and 1965’s delightful Paris vu par…—the results so far indicate that the project’s already off the rails.

Excepting a painfully dead-on short by Alexander Payne, the Paris film was a mostly wince-inducing collection with particularly ghastly entries from Wes Craven (with Payne as Oscar Wilde’s ghost!?) and Christopher Doyle. It could be dismissed as a one-off curio had it not paved the way for the more thorough disaster that is New York, I Love You, a movie that will test any professed NYC lover’s affection. The producers reject the term “anthology movie” for this project, because there’s actor and crew overlap, and some of the shorts are sliced up and sprinkled throughout intermittently. There were also “rules” for each filmmaker (only two days to shoot, a recognizable neighborhood, a required love encounter of some sort) that fuse the pieces, but the most unifying factor is their badness. Read the rest.

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