I recently got to see the movie PAPA HEMINGWAY IN CUBA and it got me wondering about the real Hemingway and did Woody correctly picture him as the likable bully who was full of optimism. I found that the bully part was true but the cold hard fact about Hemingway’s outlook on life was nihilistic and similar to Woody’s own view. That part did not come through and he even suggests to Gil Pender that one can suspend temporarily the fear of death. While that is funny but that is not true to Hemingway’s nihilistic outlook.

In an interview about MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Woody Allen did state:

 You could look at the earth and say who cares about those creatures running around there and just brush it. Ernest Hemingway in one of his stories ( A FAREWELL TO ARMS) is looking at a burning log with ants running on it. This is the kind of thinking that has over powered me over the years and slips into my stories.

Even though Woody may have known about Hemingway’s tendency towards nihilism he kept it out of this film.


Midnight in Paris OST – 15 – Ballad Du Paris


Wikipedia noted concerning Hemingway’s book THE SUN ALSO RISES:

The themes of The Sun Also Rises appear in its two epigraphs. The first is an allusion to the “Lost Generation,” a term coined by Gertrude Stein referring to the post-war generation;[note 2][28] the other epigraph is a long quotation from Ecclesiastes: “What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.”[29] Hemingway told his editor Max Perkins that the book was not so much about a generation being lost, but that “the earth abideth forever.” He thought the characters in The Sun Also Rises may have been “battered” but were not lost.[4]

 “There Is Nothing New Under The Sun”

 Ecclesiastes  1:4-11

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be among those who come after.

Reading and navigating Ecclesiastes can be confusing and perplexing, if we neglect this simple working premise: Solomon is dramatically describing life here on earth, and the folly of that existence when God is left out. No matter how exciting life may seem to be “under the sun,” ultimately, it has no value without God.

In the above section, there is really a simple thought reported by the writer: When life here on earth is lived without God, it is really soon to become very boring. This is a poetic expression that says, for all of man’s efforts against the reality of God, he gains nothing; earthly activities are repetitive and unfulfilling.

“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” There is a transience about human existence on earth, that really fails to bring us in touch with something that is absolutely new. If, therefore, we root our hope in the next generation or time, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. It will simply not be that different. Nothing ever really changes except for the faces, the names, the methods and perhaps the social/political dynamics. In fact, history repeats itself and no great thing emerges from “under the sun” that changes the essence of our existence here. We are born. We live and die. Others are born, etc. The world is a very repetitive place. Nothing ever changes. So, any search for real meaning and lasting profit cannot come from under the sun.

Examples are given from nature (sun, wind and water). In the natural world, there is a cycle that is simply repeated over and over, taking the objective observer to the conclusion, “there is nothing new under the sun.” {This text, “The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hasten to the place where it rises,” verse 5 – was the inspiration for the EARNEST HEMINGWAY title, “THE SUN ALSO RISES,” (1926).}

It is a weary and hopeless existence, to wait for the earth or the human race to come up with something perfectly revolutionary. Solomon wants us to know, “that ain’t happenin!” Tremper Longman III wrote: “After all, the sun seems to be constantly moving around the earth, but the pattern is the same each and every day. Even if one observes changes in the sun’s course over a year, it always stays within the same limits.” And, “The second illustration from nature is the wind. Once again, the idea of sameness within apparent change is illustrated: the wind gives the appearance of great commotion, but, when analyzed closely, is just going in circles. Nothing is changing at all. It is just more of the same,” {THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES, by Tremper Longman III, p.#68,69, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament.]

“All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” People here “under the sun” are always looking and listening, attempting to be satisfied, but always want more! We never seem to find what other generations missed.

“This is especially true now in the information age. Every day we see an endless procession of visual images: Comcast, YouTube, BlackBerry, Netflix. We can also listen to an endless stream of sounds: iPod, iPhone, iTunes, TVs, CDs, and mp3s. Yet, even after all our looking and listening, our eyes and our ears are not satisfied. We still want to see and hear more. Soon we are back to take in more of the endless procession of sounds and images. We can never get enough. There is always one more show to watch, one more game to play, one more song to which to listen. So we keep text-messaging, webcasting, Facebooking, Twittering, and Flickring. But what have we gained? What have we accomplished? Is there any profit?” {ECCLESIASTES, Preaching The Word, Philip Graham Ryken, Crossway}.

What does all this mean? “Under the sun” there is no answer, no ultimate fulfillment, no meaning. Most people are trying to get what they really need from “under the sun” instead of from the Maker of the Sun!

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Solomon doesn’t intend to merely express gloom. He wants us to learn from his book (as early as possible) what he finally learned late in life. If we are waiting for some new thing to excite our interests or fill our lives, it is futile. Life is far more boring than modern man admits. Political empires arise and fall. There are periods of war, followed by periods of peace, then other wars follow. The famous American philosopher Yogi Berra may have said it well: “déjà vu all over again!”

What really changes? Communication or just the methods and speed? Illness, or just the diagnostics and treatment protocals? (Do we envision that someday there will be no need for doctors and hospitals here on earth?) Does money really change, or just the form, the use and the systems of exchange? Relationships, Politics, Sin? Do not confuse methods with essence. The essence of our existence here on earth doesn’t really change. It is what it is. Whatever seems to be new “has been already in the ages before us.”

Conclusion: there is nothing new under the sun! Here, at ground level, everything is pretty much the same generation after generation. But, there is a God in heaven who rules over the sun! Meaning can be found in relation to Him, thus making life here tolerable, even delightful, and making ultimate perfect existence possible, through Jesus Christ. All those things that make life here so weary and boring can have new meaning, when you understand who God is, what Christ did and you connect yourself to the genuineness of being a child of God. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man,” (Eccl. 12:13).

Woody Allen talks ‘Midnight in Paris’

AT THE 27 MIN MARK Woody Allen says:

I have never gotten to the point where I can give an optimistic view of anything. I have these ideas for stories that I hope are entertaining and I am always criticized for being pessimistic or nihilistic. To me this is just a realistic appraisal of life. There are these little Oasis’s these little distractions you get. Last night I was caught up in the Bulls and Heat basketball game on television and for the time being I was thinking about who was going to win. I wasn’t thinking about my mortality or the fact that I am finite and aging. That was not on my mind. Labron James was on my mind and the game. That is the best you can do is get a little  detraction. What I have learned over the years is that there is no other solution to it. There is no satisfying answer. There is no optimistic answer I can give anybody.

The outcome of that basketball game is no less meaningful or no more meaningful than human life if you take the long view of it. You could look at the earth and say who cares about those creatures running around there and just brush it. Ernest Hemingway in one of his stories ( A FAREWELL TO ARMS) is looking at a burning log with ants running on it. This is the kind of thinking that has over powered me over the years and slips into my stories.

I have always been an odd mixture, completely accidentally, I was a nightclub comic joke writer whose two biggest influences were Groucho Marx, who I have always adored and he still makes me laugh  and Igmar Bergman. I have always had a morbid streak in my work and I when I do something that works , it works to my advantage because it gives some substance and depth to the story, but I when I fail the thing could be too grim or too moralizing or not interesting enough. Then someone will say we only like you when you are funny.

AT THE 35 MIN MARK Woody Allen says concerning the historical characters he put in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS:

I was trying to present them as the popular image of them. I am sure if I had known Ernest Hemingway, what I read about him was that he was a bully. If you read Truman Capote’s interview with him that he was obnoxious and terrible, and the guy I have playing him is very charming and I was trying to write him as we think of him.

Hollywood via Cuba in ‘Papa Hemingway’

Papa Hemingway in Cuba

  • Papa Hemingway in Cuba
  • Giovanni Ribisi, Joely Richardson, Adrian Sparks
  • Directed by Bob Yari

BY April 28, 2016

Papa Hemingway in Cuba
Giovanni Ribisi plays a young Miami journalist invited to Cuba by Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) in ‘Papa Hemingway in Cuba.’ Yari Film Group

Shot on location, views of Cuba entice, but film’s script feels overripe

It is, as advertised, the first film shot in Cuba since Castro came to power in 1959. (Our Man in Havana, with Alec Guinness, was the last, though the new U.S. open-door policy will likely bring more cinematic exploration). And Papa: Hemingway in Cuba gives us sights to revel in – buildings, cars, dusty streets, all richly evocative and seemingly unchanged with time. Director Bob Yari tells the true story of a young Miami journalist (Giovanni Ribisi)  who writes a fan letter to Nobel author Ernest Hemingway (Adrian Sparks) and wrangles an invite in 1957 to visit the icon – everyone calls him “Papa” – at  the Finca La Vigia home her shares with his fourth wife, Mary (Joely Richardson).

The crew was allowed to shoot at the actual location (now a museum) and use Papa’s fishing boat, the Pilar, for a marlin expedition. Sparks, who has played Hemingway on stage in a one-man play by John deGroot, not only resembles the bearded, robust Papa, but captures the depression eating away at the man who would shoot himself in the head  in 1961, less than a year after leaving Cuba. Suicide had been a Hemingway family curse, and Sparks, minus flashy histrionics, lets us see the storm roiling inside the man. “I can’t [make love]; I can’t write,” he shouts at the journalist while indulging in bouts of drinking and self-loathing. Oddly, what hurts the movie most is the source material. Denne Bart Petitclerc, who died of lung cancer in 2006, wrote the script based on his own relationship with Hemingway. And Yari, perhaps out of misguided tribute,  has decided to keep it. Though Petitclerc, called Ed Myers in the film, won a nomination from the Writers Guild of America for his fine 1977 adaptation of Hemingway’s Islands in the Stream, inspiration seems to have deserted him here. As a movie, Papa improves every time it shuts up and allows action to define character. Clunky, overripe patches of dialogue litter the film. Papa often delivers unsolicited advice: “Kid, the only value we have as human beings are the risks we’re willing to take.” In one scene, Hemingway uses a cocktail napkin to scrawl what he calls a six-word short story: “For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never worn.” Yup, sometimes less really is more. If only the movie itself had paid heed.

‘Hemingway in Cuba’: Adrian Sparks on Playing ‘Papa’

Papa Hemingway in Cuba Movie CLIP – Changed My Life (2016) – Giovanni Ribisi Movie HD

Papa – Official Trailer

This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend like Hobbes  and Stanley that life is “nasty, brutish and short” and as a result has no meaning UNDER THE SUN.

The movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS offers many of the same themes we see in Ecclesiastes. The second post looked at the question: WAS THERE EVER A GOLDEN AGE AND DID THE MOST TALENTED UNIVERSAL MEN OF THAT TIME FIND TRUE SATISFACTION DURING IT?

In the third post in this series we discover in Ecclesiastes that man UNDER THE SUN finds himself caught in the never ending cycle of birth and death. The SURREALISTS make a leap into the area of nonreason in order to get out of this cycle and that is why the scene in MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel works so well!!!! These surrealists look to the area of their dreams to find a meaning for their lives and their break with reality is  only because they know that they can’t find a rational meaning in life without God in the picture.

The fourth post looks at the solution of WINE, WOMEN AND SONG and the fifth and sixth posts look at the solution T.S.Eliot found in the Christian Faith and how he left his fragmented message of pessimism behind. In the seventh post the SURREALISTS say that time and chance is all we have but how can that explain love or art and the hunger for God? The eighth  post looks at the subject of DEATH both in Ecclesiastes and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. In the ninth post we look at the nihilistic worldview of Woody Allen and why he keeps putting suicides into his films.

In the tenth post I show how Woody Allen pokes fun at the brilliant thinkers of this world and how King Solomon did the same thing 3000 years ago. In the eleventh post I point out how many of Woody Allen’s liberal political views come a lack of understanding of the sinful nature of man and where it originated. In the twelfth post I look at the mannishness of man and vacuum in his heart that can only be satisfied by a relationship with God.

Papa Hemingway in Cuba Movie CLIP – Another Chance (2016) – Giovanni Ribisi, Adrian Sparks Movie HD

In the thirteenth post we look at the life of Ernest Hemingway as pictured in MIDNIGHT AND PARIS and relate it to the change of outlook he had on life as the years passed. In the fourteenth post we look at Hemingway’s idea of Paris being a movable  feast. The fifteenth and sixteenth posts both compare Hemingway’s statement, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know…”  with Ecclesiastes 2:18 “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” The seventeenth post looks at these words Woody Allen put into Hemingway’s mouth,  “We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all.”

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Hemingway and Gil Pender talk about their literary idol Mark Twain and the eighteenth post is summed up nicely by Kris Hemphill‘swords, “Both Twain and [King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes] voice questions our souls long to have answered: Where does one find enduring meaning, life purpose, and sustainable joy, and why do so few seem to find it? The nineteenth post looks at the tension felt both in the life of Gil Pender (written by Woody Allen) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and in Mark Twain’s life and that is when an atheist says he wants to scoff at the idea THAT WE WERE PUT HERE FOR A PURPOSE but he must stay face the reality of  Ecclesiastes 3:11 that says “God has planted eternity in the heart of men…” and  THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING! Therefore, the secular view that there is no such thing as love or purpose looks implausible. The twentieth post examines how Mark Twain discovered just like King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is no explanation  for the suffering and injustice that occurs in life UNDER THE SUN. Solomon actually brought God back into the picture in the last chapter and he looked  ABOVE THE SUN for the books to be balanced and for the tears to be wiped away.

The twenty-first post looks at the words of King Solomon, Woody Allen and Mark Twain that without God in the picture our lives UNDER THE SUN will accomplish nothing that lasts. The twenty-second post looks at King Solomon’s experiment 3000 years that proved that luxuries can’t bring satisfaction to one’s life but we have seen this proven over and over through the ages. Mark Twain lampooned the rich in his book “The Gilded Age” and he discussed  get rich quick fever, but Sam Clemens loved money and the comfort and luxuries it could buy. Likewise Scott Fitzgerald  was very successful in the 1920’s after his publication of THE GREAT GATSBY and lived a lavish lifestyle until his death in 1940 as a result of alcoholism.

In the twenty-third post we look at Mark Twain’s statement that people should either commit suicide or stay drunk if they are “demonstrably wise” and want to “keep their reasoning faculties.” We actually see this play out in the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS with the character Zelda Fitzgerald. In the twenty-fourth, twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth posts I look at Mark Twain and the issue of racism. In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS we see the difference between the attitudes concerning race in 1925 Paris and the rest of the world.

The twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth posts are summing up Mark Twain. In the 29th post we ask did MIDNIGHT IN PARIS accurately portray Hemingway’s personality and outlook on life? and in the 30th post the life and views of Hemingway are summed up.


Ernest Hemingway with his second wife Pauline

Papa Hemingway in Cuba Movie CLIP – Never Worn (2016) – Drama HD

Papa Hemingway in Cuba Movie CLIP – Nosey Nancy (2016) – Giovanni Ribisi, Minka Kelly Movie HD


Related posts:

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 4 Ernest Hemingway)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 3 Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 2 Cole Porter)

The Characters referenced in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (Part 1 William Faulkner)

MUSIC MONDAY Cole Porter “Let’s Do it, Let’s Fall in Love” in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS




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