Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Midnight in Paris

People tend to love or hate the films of Woody Allen and  his 2011 contribution Midnight in Paris is no exception. It is a piece of fantastical nonsense which  I enjoyed. The hero, or anti hero in this instance is a Hollywood screen writer with ambitions to create something meaningful and artistic while vacationing with his attractive conventional and culturally uneducated fiancée and her even more conventional conservative Republican parents. It is evident that if he was half the man he is supposed to be he would not have become involved the  woman and her family within a thousand miles.

He loves to walks the streets, even in the rain ( hints of gene Kelly here). After getting drunk and wondering about when at the midnight hour a 1920’s vehicle and passengers drives up and invites  him to join them in a party, for Jean Cocteau. He meets Alice B Toklas, Cole Porter. Josephine Baker. Zelda and F Scott z and Hemingway whop all treat him as one of them. Hemingway agrees to show the prospective great novel to Gertrude Stein who he then meets and gives him good  advice. Stein introduces him to Picasso and come of is current women Adrianna ( Marianne Cotillard)  with whom he is attracted. He shares with her the opening lines of the book about his fascination with the past which she admits she also has,

On subsequent nights Adrianna nights  leaves Picasso for Hemingway and become more attracted to her. He also meets T S Elliot and then Dali Man Ray and Louis Brunel with whom he reveals his conflict of being in love with two women at the same time but being surrealists they see nothing strange in this and his interest in two women normal. The joke here is that he tells Brunel the plot of  the film he is yet to make The Exterminating Angel which Brunel initially dismisses and continues to question. While out during the day with his fiancée looking at very expensive antiques he comes across the published diary of Adrianna who has written that she loves him and  wishes he would give her a pair earrings as a token of his affection after which they would make love. He then attempts to steal the earrings of his fiancée but is thwarted so has to buys a pair but when he goes to meet her hey are invited  back into the Belle Epoch of the 1890’s at Maxims and the Moulin Rouge where he encounters Degas, Lautrec and Gauguin and these three argue that the era which they would have preferred to have lived was the Renaissance . As this is Adrianna’s era of choice she elects to stay but he returns to the present.

Meanwhile his fiancée frustrated by his lack of  attention and absorption in his literary work and wonderings is spending more time with a  male friend who is something of a know it all  and where our hero is able to put him in his place together with impressing an official guide  because of his authoritative first hand knowledge of what  the artists said to him about their work, intentions and relationships. However it is Stein who tells him that Hemingway makes the point that he needs to polish his portrait of the relationship between the fiancée in the novel and the friend because rationally the two are having an affair behind the back of its hero.  When  he confronts his fiancée with this insight at first she dismisses but then admits claiming it was a mere dalliance and something which should not affect their relationship,

The break up confirms  the dislike the parents where the father reveals that  he has had him followed by a detective who has disappeared, In fact the man has been transported  back to 18th century Paris and decides to remain there.

Our hero decides to remain in Paris to finish his book and remeets a young woman previously met who declares that like him she loves just wondering the streets, including in the rain. The pair are made for each other. The film won an Oscar for its Screen play written by Allen and was also nominated as  best Film, best Director and for Art Direction. Woody Allen also won a Golden Globe for the screen play and was  nominated for a BAFTA as other awards and countless nominations. It was all great fun and witty and I wish.


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