The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 9, Georges Braque)

Adriana pictured above is Picasso’s fictional mistress in the film “Midnight in Paris. Of course, Picasso did have plenty during his lifetime.

I am in the process of going through the characters referenced in  Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris. Today I will be discussing Georges Braque. By the way, I know that some of you are wondering how many posts I will have before I am finished. Right now I have plans to look at Rodin,Coco Chanel, Modigliani, Matisse, Luis Bunuel, Josephine Baker, Van Gogh, Picasso, Man Ray, T.S. Elliot and several more.

Lea Seydoux as Gabrielle in "Midnight in Paris." 2011 Roger Arpajou / Sony Pictures Classics

Lea Seydoux as Gabrielle in “Midnight in Paris.”


Adriana and Gil are seen above walking together in the movie “Midnight in Paris.” Adriana was a fictional character who was Picasso’s mistress in the film. Earlier she had been Georges Braque’s mistress before moving on to Picasso according to the film story line. Actually Picasso had taken girls from others quite often in the past. Picasso’s blue period was during a time when he moved into his best friend’s apartment and took up with his girl after his best friend’s suicide.

Along with Picasso Braque invented Cubism. I am currently going through the artists and writers mentioned in the movie “Midnight in Paris.” Below is a biography of Braque.

“Georges Braque developed his painting skills while working for his father, a house decorator. He moved to Paris in 1900 to study where he was drawn to the work of the Fauve artists, including Matisse, Derain and Dufy, as well as the late landscapes of Cézanne. Meeting Picasso marked a huge turning point in Braque’s development and together they evolved as leaders of Cubism. After a brief interlude in which he was called up to fight in the First World War, Braque’s style developed in the direction he was to follow for the rest of his life. In establishing the principle that a work of art should be autonomous and not merely imitate nature, Cubism redefined art in the twentieth century. Braque’s large compositions incorporated the Cubist aim of representing the world as seen from a number of different viewpoints. He wanted to convey a feeling of being able to move around within the painting. The still life subject remained his chief preoccupation from 1927 to 1955.”

This clip below mentions Georges Braque as one of Picasso’s friends who with Picasso developed cubism.

I doubt that Georges Braque lived the same type of life like Picasso with all the mistresses. Of course, Woody Allen’s film is fiction. I did want to make a comment about cubism. Both Braque and Picasso founded cubism together but Picasso could not live with the loss of humanism that the paintings pictured. Take a look at this post on Picasso.

A Christian Manifesto Francis Schaeffer

Published on Dec 18, 2012

A video important to today. The man was very wise in the ways of God. And of government. Hope you enjoy a good solis teaching from the past. The truth never gets old.

The Roots of the Emergent Church by Francis Schaeffer

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

#02 How Should We Then Live? (Promo Clip) Dr. Francis Schaeffer

10 Worldview and Truth

Two Minute Warning: How Then Should We Live?: Francis Schaeffer at 100

Francis Schaeffer Whatever Happened to the Human Race (Episode 1) ABORTION

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR


Francis Schaeffer in the episode, “The Age of Fragmentation,” Episode 8 of HOW SHOULD WE THEN  LIVE? noted:

Monet, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley, Degas were following nature as it has been called in their painting they were impressionists.They painted only what their eyes brought them. But was there reality behind the light waves reaching their eyes? After 1885 Monet carried this to its conclusion and reality tended to become a dream. With impressionism the door was open for art to become the vehicle for modern thought. As reality became a dream, impressionism began to fall apart. These men Cezanne, Van Gogh, 
Gauguin, Seurat, all great post Impressionists felt the problem, felt the loss  of meaning. They set out to solve the problem, to find the way back to reality, to the absolute behind the individual things, behind the particulars, ultimately they failed. I am not saying that these 
painters were always consciously painting their philosophy of life, but rather in their work as a whole their worldview was often reflected. Cezanne reduced nature to what he considered its basic geometric forms. In this he was searching for an universal which would tie all kinds of individual things in nature together, but this gave a broken fragmented appearance to his pictures. In his bathers there is much freshness, much vitality. An absolute wonder in the balance of the picture as a whole, but he portrayed not only nature but also man himself in fragmented form. 
I want to stress that I am not minimizing these men as men. To read van Gogh’s letters is to weep for the pain of this sensitive man. Nor do I minimize their talent as painters. Their work often has great beauty indeed. But their art did become the vehicle of modern man’s view of fractured truth and light. As philosophy had moved from unity to fragmentation so did painting. In 1912  Kaczynski wrote an article saying that in so far as the old harmony, that is an unity of knowledge have been lost, that only two possibilities remained: extreme abstraction or extreme naturalism, both he said were equal.
With this painting modern art was born. Picasso painted it in 1907 and called it Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It unites Cezzanne’s fragmentation with Gauguin’s concept of the nobel savage using the form of the african mask which was popular with Parisian art circle of that 
time. In great art technique is united with worldview and the technique of  fragmentation works well with the worldview of modern man. A view of a fragmented world and a fragmented man and a complete break with the art of the Renaissance which was founded on man’s humanist hopes.
Here man is made to be less than man. Humanity is lost. Speaking of a part of Picasso’s private collection of his own works David Douglas Duncan says “Of course, not one of these pictures was actually a portrait, but his prophecy of a ruined world.”
But Picasso himself could not live  with this loss of the human. When he was in love with Olga and later  Jacqueline he did not consistently paint them in a fragmented way. At crucial 
points of their relationship he painted them as they really were with all his genius, with all their humanity. When he was painting his own young children he did not use fragmented techniques and presentation. I want you to understand that I am not saying that gentleness and humanness is not present in modern art, but as the techniques of modern art advanced, humanity was increasingly 
fragmented. The opposite of fragmentation would be unity, and the old philosophic thinkers thought they could bring forth this unity from  the humanist base and then they gave this up.


Below is a review of “Midnight in Paris” that I got off the internet.

I can’t remember the last time Woody Allen made a film as delightful as Midnight in Paris.  He’s certainly done it before and it’s not one of his comedy classics like Annie Hall and Sleeper, but Midnight in Paris is undoubtedly one of Woody Allen’s best films of the past ten years.  It’s the rare Allen comedy where he doesn’t insert an Allen-like neurotic character, and the script finds inventive ways to be funny and thoughtful.  Johanne Debas and Darius Khondji’s cinematography is gorgeous, the film is filled with wonderful performances where you can tell that all of the actors are having a marvelous time, and Allen brings it all together with a joy rarely seen in his movies these days.

Gil (Owen Wilson) is having a miserable time in one of the most beautiful cities in the world: Paris.  He’s a screenwriter who’s struggling to finish his novel, his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) seems more enamored of her pretentious friend Paul (Michael Sheen) than she does of Gil, and her parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy) hate Gil and think he’s cheap.  But none of that bothers him as much as the fact that he feels like he living in the wrong time.  When he walks around the museums and gardens of Paris, he takes in the beauty, but it also provides him with nostalgia for the 1920s and all the amazing writers and artists he never met.


Despondent and a little drunk, Gil wanders the streets of Paris alone at midnight.  As he passes one particular street, an old-time motorcar offers to give him a lift.  He gets in and suddenly finds himself party talking up F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and his wife Zelda (Alison Pill) while Cole Porter (Yves Heck) plays the piano.  Gil slowly realizes that he’s somehow been transported back to the Paris of the 1920s and that he has the rare opportunity to talk to his literary heroes about his book.  Matters become slightly more complicated when he starts to fall for Adriana (Marion Cotillard), a costume designer and a muse for giants like Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo).

There’s a charming simplicity at the heart of Midnight in Paris and it comes from the  question of what would you do if you could go back in time and live in a world that you thought was better than your own?  Allen doesn’t try to recreate the 1920s as they actually were (this isn’t Boardwalk Empire), but rather as Gil imagines it and that everyone is larger than life.  Stoll almost steals the movie with his bombastic impersonation of a young Ernest Hemingway while Adrien Brody gets amusingly strange as he plays the eccentricities of Salvador Dalí.  And as for Wilson, I can’t remember the last time I saw him exuding such immeasurable joy and personality into a role, and I applaud both him and Allen for not making Gil the standard neurotic Woody Allen surrogate character.


The movie pulls the majority of its entertainment value from watching Gil have fun with his 20th century artistic heroes (the rest of it comes from Michael Sheen’s performance), but it also has a thoughtful exploration at its core about artistic creation, inspiration, and criticism.  There’s a couple of simple observations like how the people who inspired us to be creative can inspire us to lead better lives through their art, and how nostalgia always makes people think an earlier time was better (Gil even remakes on the latter, “I’m having an insight!  It’s a minor one…”), but the idea I found most interesting was about the relationship between the critic and the creator.

Since I’m a critic, that should come as no surprise and neither should the fact that Allen sides with the creative.  It’s not that the film condemns criticism.  The constructive criticism Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) gives Gil on his manuscript is invaluable as are the life lessons he gets from all his other idols and Adriana.  But the ignorant, pompous criticism of Paul is where Allen clearly takes issue.  While the script veers a little too close to “Only the artist has the correct interpretation of their work,” Allen keeps it above water by letting us know that Paul is wrong not because he has an opinion on art, but because it’s an uninformed opinion that willfully ignores history and context.


Woody Allen’s comedies are always at their best when they have a thoughtful idea at the middle and the revelation of that idea isn’t too heavy-handed.  He’s had some trouble with that formula in recent years, but he gets the mixture almost completely right with Midnight in Paris.  Even if you don’t want to engage in the subtext, you’ll be swept up in the performances and ache to live in the artist’s dream city of Paris (although I recommend staying out of the 17th century).

Rating: A-

Other posts with Woody Allen:

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 10 Salvador Dali)

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The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 9, Georges Braque)

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The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 8, Henri Toulouse Lautrec)

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  • P. Fragopoulos  On December 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Seeing this movie gave me a great idea for a classroom assignment/unit involving my Dual-credit senior English class. It is a thought provoking film and the creativity fosters creativity in the viewer. Cannot wait to try my idea after the new year.


  • By Midnight in Paris | The Blond Pond on May 31, 2012 at 8:34 am

    […] can find the rest of the well done and thought-provoking discussion on the film here. Sometimes I just forget about how my life is more like the map of the tube than a direct flight, […]

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