Fans of the popular “Cities of Love” franchise now have new movie to look forward to after the October 16th release of “New York, I Love You.” During an interview in Paris, the site of the first film, producer Scott Berrie confirmed that Jerusalem would be the backdrop for the next film. Like the previous installments, “Jerusalem” will feature a number of short films that together form a thoughtful meditation on life and love in the city. The “Love” franchise has a reputation for teaming up with top flight directors and actors-the first two films alone have seen collaborations with over 50 actors and 35 different directors-and this one will likely be no different. Hit the jump to find out why Jerusalem was chosen and what other cities may soon be feeling the love.
“Jerusalem” will feature ten short films and, true to form, each story will take place in a different neighborhood of the city. Three will be directed by Israelis, three by Americans and four by other international filmmakers. With a city as storied and contested as Jerusalem is, this sort of film seems destined for some sort of controversy. Berrie, however, is confident the film will unite, not divide. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he says, “The conflict will always be in the background, but won’t be the main focus of the film…we have to be representative of the people living in Jerusalem. Jews, Christians, Muslims, Ethiopians, Copts — everyone. Film is a beautiful way to understand what is happening over there today.”
“Jerusalem” is expected to premiere in early 2012 and by that time “Cities” founder Emmanuel Benbihy will have already taken audiences to Rio (early 2011) and Shanghai (late 2011). The selection of these cities is not haphazard. To explain his cinematic itinerary, Benbihy offered the following: “We picked Paris because it’s nicknamed the city of love. New York is the city of romantic comedies. Rio represents sensual love. Shanghai is the city of exotic love, where love can be bought. Jerusalem represents spiritual love. Each of these cities has its own love myth.”
The Shanghai explanation is my favorite. Liam Neeson’s character from “Taken” is going to be perfect for that movie. Kidding aside, the “Cities” series is one of the only mainstream outlets for short form filmmaking so I find it refreshing to see the kind of dedication and energy that Benbihy and Berrie are bringing to the franchise. It also does not hurt that there is a 150% chance that Natalie Portman, who starred in “Paris” and “New York” and who is Israeli, will be back for another round, maybe even as a director this time.
Unless those apocalyptic predictions are true, 2012 cannot get here fast enough. In the meantime, we’ve got the trailer for “New York, I Love You” to keep you occupied.