Tag Archives: midnight in paris

“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 1)

“Woody Wednesday” Allen acts silly in 1971 interview (Part 1)

Woody Allen interview 1971 PART 1/4

Uploaded by on Jul 21, 2008

Woody Allen interview from 1971, just after the worldwide release of ‘Bananas’

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Looking at the (sometimes skewed) morality of Woody Allen’s best films.

In the late ’60s, Woody Allen left the world of stand-up comedy behind for the movies. Since then, he’s become one of American cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers. Sure, he’s had his stinkers and his private life hasn’t been without controversy. But he’s also crafted some of Hollywood’s most thought-provoking comedies. Philosophical, self-deprecating and always more than a tad pessimistic, Allen adds another title to his oeuvre this Friday with Midnight in Paris. Whether it will be remembered as one of his greatest or another flop is too early to say, but its release gives us a chance to look back at some of his most indispensable works.

Love and Death (1975)

Allen’s Love and Death owes a lot to Tolstoy’s War and Peace and the films of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Death himself even makes an appearance, recalling the existential dread of Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. But despite the movie’s many highbrow allusions, Allen is more concerned with simply having a good time. Gags and one-liners abound, making it, if not a comic masterpiece, a pretty good way to spend an hour and a half.

Annie Hall (1977)

Like Love and Death, this Oscar winner paired Allen and Diane Keaton as a couple. But unlike Love and Death, it’s less concerned with throw-away gags. Instead, Allen uses humor to explore the complicated nature of relationships and the difficulties of love and communication. And of course, there’s also his trademark pessimism. The film begins with a joke about two women on vacation in the Catskills. One says to the other, “Boy, the food in this place is terrible,” and the other replies, “Yeah I know, and such small portions.” Allen’s character, Alvy Singer, goes on to say, “That’s essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness—and it’s all over much too quickly.” In the end, Alvy’s salvation lies in art, for only there can he give life the happy ending it can’t have otherwise.

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Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop were prophetic (jh29)

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“Woody Wednesday” Allen is searching for satisfaction in wrong place jh17

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“Woody Wednesday” Part 1 starts today, Complete listing of all posts on the historical people mentioned in “Midnight in Paris”

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All my posts on Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris” (Part 40)

I have 40 posts concerning the movie “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen. Below are the links to all of the posts.

“Midnight in Paris” one of Woody Allen’s biggest movie hits in recent years July 18, 2011 – 6:00 am

 
 

(Part 32, Jean-Paul Sartre)July 10, 2011 – 5:53 am

 

 (Part 29, Pablo Picasso) July 7, 2011 – 4:33 am

(Part 28,Van Gogh) July 6, 2011 – 4:03 am

(Part 27, Man Ray) July 5, 2011 – 4:49 am

(Part 26,James Joyce) July 4, 2011 – 5:55 am

(Part 25, T.S.Elliot) July 3, 2011 – 4:46 am

(Part 24, Djuna Barnes) July 2, 2011 – 7:28 am

(Part 23,Adriana, fictional mistress of Picasso) July 1, 2011 – 12:28 am

(Part 22, Silvia Beach and the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore) June 30, 2011 – 12:58 am

(Part 21,Versailles and the French Revolution) June 29, 2011 – 5:34 am

(Part 16, Josephine Baker) June 24, 2011 – 5:18 am

(Part 15, Luis Bunuel) June 23, 2011 – 5:37 am

(Part 1 William Faulkner) June 13, 2011 – 3:19 pm

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FILM NOTE – Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen, starring Owen Wilson

… It was the best of times …

Midnight in Paris is as much a pleasure to watch as Woody Allen’s best films even though it’s not as good — the fantasy is so powerful.  This time travel film takes us, and its main character, Gil (Owen Wilson), a successful screen writer, back to the Paris of the 1920’s where we meet the artists and literati who made the city the brilliant center that we all go to Paris looking for — even those too young or unworldly to realize it. 

Gil is ensconced in a fancy hotel with his beautiful fiancee, Inez — of course that’s part of the fantasy, too, that and the French food.  She and her rich, conventional right wing parents are dutifully intent on seeing the sights — Versailles and all that — guided by a know-it-all smart guy and his adoring girlfriend, but Gil — vaguely discontent, and yearning to be a serious novelist, has another agenda.  He withdraws from family fun to search out his own Paris — the Paris of his imagination — and wonder of wonders at the stroke of midnight, finds it.

Swept off mysteriously in a chauffeured car, he’s delivered to the intellectual and artistic soirees of 1920’s Paris, where Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald rub shoulders with Hemingway and Picasso while Cole Porter plays the piano [partial list of famous people], and eventually everybody who is anybody ends up at Gertrude Stein’s for intellectual discussions, artistic critiques, gossip and lovemaking.

Oh how marvelous to encounter Hemingway (Corey Stoll), young, darkly handsome, intense, having just published his first novel speaking in the dead-pan of his writing style about courage under fire  (“I’ve read all you work,” Gil tells him though at this point Hemingway’s only published one book).  How delicious to see Zelda dive too deep into the absinthe with the Princeton-elegant Scott guiding her to the next party.  And joy of joys, how wonderful that our very American Gil with Wilson’s farm-boy drawl, patent simplicity and naïve aura (though he is a successful screenwriter, Woody Allen has his cake and eats it to on that one) not only meets but draws to himself Picasso’s mistress, played by Marion Cotillard looking like the dancer Olga Khokhlova whom Picasso loved at the time.  (So much for prissy, materialistic Inez, in any time zone.)

And. here’s something really valuable, Gil gets a focused critique on the pages of his novel by none other than Gertrude Stein – it’s going to serve him in good stead back in his own time.  To see Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein sitting under Picasso’s famous, groundbreaking portrait of Gertrude and looking exactly like her is a high point of the movie and feels, for the moment, a high point of life (they really don’t have the same facial structure but Bates and Woody’s camera pull it off). 

Gil’s travel back to the 20’s in the chauffeured car is smooth but some of the other time travels lurch and are less believable, and are accompanied by preaching about the value of being of one’s own time that sounds like forced virtue.

And Allen seems so in love with the idea of this movie that he hurries through characters, settling on caricatures for his artists and writers from the past rather than on real people, let alone the creators they were, engaged in hot struggles to develop their modes of expression.  For all the fun it is to engage with Hemingway, his clipped, cliché-ridden courage talk is so obvious it’s camp, and while Adrien Brody does a great look-alike caricature bit of Salvador Dali, it’s a bit, not a person.  So if you have another way of being in Paris at its beautiful best (appealing photography) and chatting with Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Matisse and Picasso, by all means do it. 

If not, see this movie.  It’s a treat:  once again we have to thank Woody Allen for giving us great pleasure, the most fun, and a fantasy fulfilled. 

Yvonne Korshak

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