The result is "Paris, je t'aime," which includes short films by the Coen brothers, Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuaron and Gurinder Chadha. The movie premiered Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival.
"I thought it would be fun to shoot in Paris," said director Alexander Payne. "They weren't paying much money, but I didn't care."
The movie works because everyone's take on love is different. In Payne's short, an American tourist falls in love with Paris because she treasures the strange mix of loneliness and joy she feels there.
Craven's film is set in Pere Lachaise cemetery — fitting for a filmmaker adept at horror tales. But there's no horror here: He has Oscar Wilde rise from his grave and advise a young lover.
Gerard Depardieu was co-director for a short starring Gena Rowlands as a woman meeting up with a husband she still has a spark for, though they plan to divorce.
Other members of the star-studded cast: Juliette Binoche, playing a mother grieving for her young son; Steve Buscemi in the hilarious Coen brothers segment about a tourist in the Metro; Nick Nolte as a father in Cuaron's film; and Miranda Richardson as a dying woman whose husband falls in love with her all over again.