After few uneven films (remember the last film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger begins with Macbeth quote: “Life’s but a walking shadow … full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” probably pointlessness is precisely the point here.) Don’t get me wrong. I adore Woody! One of my intellectual idols! His comedies are always at their best when they have a thoughtful idea throughout the movies and the revelation of it isn’t too heavy-handed. He seems to have some trouble with that formula or let’s say being experimental in recent years, but he gets the mixture almost completely right with Midnight in Paris. There is absolutely a charming simplicity at the heart of it, directed with wit and grace.
Last year same time, in Paris, I was somehow at the original Parisian “Palace Hotel” Le Meurice Hotel, with the dearest William Oliveri, the bartender (Also Dali ‘s fav bartender back then) personalized me few birthday cocktail celebrating my birthday enjoying the old jazz at Bar228. I was also at the amazing Royal Suite roof top balcony being told by the hotel that Woody recently (back then) shooting his new film there. I just never knew this is the film.
Paris, rainy and golden, lively and melancholy, seductively shot by Darius Khondji. Not in a typical cliché romantic way but in such solid way that makes you nod your head and smile,”yes, there is no city like this in the world” if you ever lived there once.
The plot itself is fun. It centers on a small group of Americans visiting the French capital for business and pleasure. The protagonist, a screenwriter Gil (Owen Wilson) is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his fiancée and their divergent goals because of his magical experiences in the city, transported back into his chosen Parisian golden age beginning each night at midnight. The process repeats itself each night, granting Gil V.I.P. access to a nonstop Lost Generation party with Gil falling for Adriana (Marion Cotillard), who has been keeping company with Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo) and who wishes she could exchange her gray Paris of the ’20s for the Belle Époque which mirror Gil’s dissatisfaction with his own era. A shared love of Cole Porter’s music allows Gil to forge a connection in the present with a young parisian girl works at an antique market is a sign that his fetishizing of bygone days has been based on a mistake. “if I am not mistaken” ( the know it all pseudo intellectual pedant Paul (Michael Sheen) ‘s habit of prefacing in the movie), Mr. Allen is trying to convey past is not passed and to take us back into it, rather, to animate our present.
I was recently being told HK$25 in Starbucks takes you straight to USA, na, I think this is a better deal: HK$75 brought me back to exactly where I used to live for a while and get to meet too many lost generation heros of mine.
Allen tres en form! It’s his warmest, modest and most lighthearted one. A classic comics version of A Moveable Feast! Must watch!