Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Golden Age

Woody Allen just premiered my favorite film of his, ever. Welcome to Paris in 2010, where  the city of lights by day is romantic, charming and enchanting as only this city could be. There is magic in this place where the light is pink, though, and at Midnight In Paris, wishful daydreams come true.

Enter Gil (Owen Wilson) who discovers at the stroke of midnight each night, that his dream of living in what he believes is the "Golden Age" of Paris in 1920, can be a reality. He climbs into a vintage car that stops for him on the Rue du Montagne Ste Genevieve and whisks him off to a party where Cole Porter is playing piano for all the guests, including his wife Linda, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Scott's wife, Zelda. Scott takes him to meet Ernest Hemingway who takes him to meet Gertrude Stein and we see cameos of Alice B. Toklas and Josephine Baker. Stein is, of course, hanging out with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. More visits to this beautiful golden era find Gil in the company of T.S. Elliot, Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel.

Gil meets a lovely lady in the 20's who dreams of being in Paris before the turn of the century when Maxim's was all the rage and her dream comes true for her, just as Gil found himself in the 20's of Paris, Gil and his lady friend Adriana find themselves back in time in her ideal golden age where they meet Toulouse, Gauguin and Degas.   

The question then becomes... are all those golden eras that we believe came before us really golden or were they just as common as our own era today is? I have said that I would love to have lived during the height of Egyptian and Greek and Roman glories, the Renaissance, and in the 20's, and in the 40's and that I was born too late for the old soul that I am, but perhaps I did live in those times and that's why they are precious to me, or perhaps the romantic in me loves the idea of being in a time and place that saw the birth of the things I love so much now.   

It's a wonderful query, and it is an abundant banquet of a film that is delicious in every single aspect; in writing, music, history, literature, art, humor, politics, 
romance, surrealism, nostalgia, idealism, and love...
and most of all, it is the very quintessential heart of one of the most special, wonderful cities in the world, the city of lights; Paris.

There is a day trip to the Palace of Versailles and some wonderful views of the grounds and the Hall of Mirrors there.

One of the sweetest moments in the film is found in a poetic comment Gil makes to Adriana on the 
Rue du Chevalier de la Barre stairway in Montmartre, just underneath Sacre Coeur, when he tells her that Paris must be the most beautiful city in the universe.

There is also a quick cameo moment when he walks out of Shakespeare and Company; an English bookstore across the Seine from Notre Dame, a bookstore which is owned by Walt Whitman's grandson.
This is Allen's crown jewel, I believe, and I can't wait to dance to the luscious, rich soundtrack, and find myself in this wonderful story and dream, again and again.


somepinkflowers said...

you explained it so well!

this movie, too.


i could not help myself,
i saw it 2 times...


Wanderlust Scarlett said...


YAY for wonderful surprise visits! I am SO glad to see you here!! What a delight!!

Wasn't the movie fantastic? I saw it twice too, in a row. Saw the first show and when it ended I went back out in the lobby and bought another ticket and watched it again right then.


Off to see your Paris post!


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

J said...

I adore Paris, and I really liked this movie quite a bit. Actually, my favorite Woody Allen movies are the ones he's not in...

I think it's true, we all tend to think that things were better in earlier days. And I suspect that they were not. I mean really, no antibiotics, women dying from childbirth, kids dying from chickenpox and measles...not so great, really.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Words of wisdom, as far as living in golden ages of yore.

Also... I agree with you on Woody being in his movies. I hadn't thought of it before, but you're right; he's brilliant behind the camera, but less so in front of it, I think.

So delightful to see you here!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I can't wait to see this one! My daughter moved to Paris on Tuesday, so I am feeling very sore of heart but also thrilled for her as she walks in places which have always been sacred to me, as well as to her. (She has been there many times and speaks better French than I do.) Ahhhh, Paris!!! What a lovely post this is, with some fascinating philosophical quandaries.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Dearest Hearts,

True, true... true. All of that.
There are places there that I treasure to the core of my soul and always will.
I'm so delighted that your daughter has the opportunity to live there for a while; how wonderful!! It will be the experience of a lifetime for her.

The philosophies in this movie are some that strike a chord with me; particularly since I am one who has said that I was born too late to live in so many eras that I'd have loved to be in. Woody was brilliant with this one.

I hope you are able to see this film, you will love *everything* about it. ;D

Scarlett & Viaggiatore