Posts Tagged ‘time travel’

Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

(slightly spoiled)

Thank God! Woody Allen switched off the auto-pilot used partially in “Whatever Works” and full-time in “You’ll Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”. It is not his most original work but is definitely narrated with the freshness “You’ll Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” lacked so much.

“Midnight in Paris” is, as the title promises to be, an ode to Paris and all its charms. In addition it is also an ode to good ol’ times, not the ones we witnessed but the ones we read about in books, see in the movies and learn about in history class.

Midnight is a special hour when yesterday, today and tomorrow meet. It is the moment when the hero takes a leap in time, the moment Woody Allen chooses to feed us and his hero the magic of never-known but always longed-for better, cooler, more dynamic past.

We are offered what only cinema, of all arts, can offer, dreamlike time traveling. Cinema can curve time, we’re so rigidly and linearly trapped in, in the most natural way. It is science-fiction Woody Allen style, escapist style, using up all the possibilities and tricks a time travel in Paris of the Golden Age can offer. It is not a journey as unexpected as the one in “The Purple Rose of Cairo” but still an entertaining one.

The artistic milieu our hero lands in is astonishing, of course, and he has some revelatory encounters; the one with the surrealist group is probably the most intriguing and, in return, Luis Bunuel gets something very important out of this bizarre meeting but he is not yet aware of it. But we are and what a treat it is!

“Midnight in Paris” is well spent quality time with Woody Allen. We are not witnessing a chef d’oeuvre, but it’s definitely an enjoyable film and maybe even worth seeing twice. The cast, this time, is a success curing me, at least, of the “Tall Dark Stranger” cast trauma. Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Corey Stoll are adorable, but Adrien Brody was the one who took me home.

The past, as glamorous as it is, as welcoming as it seems in the realm of cinema, was once the harsh present for the ones who lived it. The present is always too prosaic, no matter when or where, is what we all want to escape most of the time. That not being possible, maybe present is to be faced with gaiety and courage as Hemingway describes it. Use your dreams of perfection as the lance against quotidian dullness and indifference. Make present a past worth escaping to. Make present your Belle Epoque and never wait for the Future!

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