Midnight in Paris: Romantically Modern





Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris did the impossible-- it actually made me want to visit Paris-- he films the old architecture of the city so beautifully, in yellow saturated tones, that it would probably be impossible to find this Paris as a tourist . . . there is no urban sprawl or traffic or arrogant French people, but the theme of the film is paradoxical, as the moral of the story is that you should be happy in your own place and time, yet his portrayal of Paris in the 1920's is so romantic and magical . . . every scene is full of artistic celebrities-- Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, Man Ray, Toklas, Picasso, Dali, Eliot-- and they are all friendly and they speak as if they themselves are their own works of art (Dali asks the time traveling Owen Wilson-- an ersatz Woody Allen-- if he likes "the shape of the rhinoceros") and though the moral is an apt one, as we all think some past reality is more creative and golden than our own, the problem with the movie is that Woody Allen's version of the '20's in Paris really does seem more exciting and wonderful than the present . . . maybe he needed to include some of T.S. Eliot's anti-Semitism or a bit more of the intractably ugly and inaccessible art of the time, or the feeling that this was a "Lost Generation" . . . or maybe someone should have simply died of strep throat . . . and one last thought on the reason that Owen Wilson finally decides to embrace his present: are all the tour guides and shop-keepers in Paris really that hot?

1 comment:

Igor said...

I enjoyed this movie quite a bit, and I loved the universal truth of the glorification of past eras. Live in the now!

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