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Wednesday 24 December 2014, 13:59 pm.
Back Stasge

In love with past eras
By Staff Writer Sat 27 Dec 2014, 18:30 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Back Stasge








Midnight in Paris (2011) is showing today 30th of April only, at the Gaborone Film Society at 7 pm in the A/V Centre at Maru a Pula School.

It is one of the most expensive comedies ever made, costing nearly P500 million. It was honoured two years ago as the opening movie at the Annual Cannes Film Festival.Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris features Cole Porter's music and wonderful passages starting at midnight at the bottom of the steps up to Montmartre where the movie's star is picked up by an old limousine and transported back 90 years to the 1920s; and on later pick ups back to the surprising time of Belle ƒpoque in the 1890s. Midnight in Paris includes a great performance by the French actress Marion Cotillard. Its two stars are Rachel McAdams and Owen Wilson, who as innocent Americans in Europe, are at first a bit grating.

Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's best film in a long time, one that continues his passion for Europe and Paris.He was reviewed positively for his Spanish fantasy Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) (Mmegi, 10 July 2009), and before that his London creation Match Point (2005) that also starred Scarlet Johansson (Mmegi 26 August 2006).Midnight in Paris is the story of a young Hollywood scriptwriting hack, Gil Penders (played by Owen Wilson and as Woody Allen's alter ego) who has dreams of writing his first novel. Gil has been to Paris before and is in love with the city of love.

This time he is travelling with his future wife Inez (acted by Rachel McAdams), a spoiled rich-girl. Inez wants to enjoy a holiday while Gil desires to absorb and be stimulated by Paris. To make it worse her disgustingly bourgeoisie, right-wing Republican parents (played by Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy) are also in Paris - well,Gil and Inez piggybacked on them. They are accompanied by an annoying know-it-all ornament and pseudo-academic, Paul (Michael Sheen). Paul, with his wife Carol (Nina Arianda), drag the young couple around including a stop at the Musˇe Rodin (Carla Bruni, then France's First Lady, played the tour guide).

Gil is toting around a 400-page manuscript of his new book, but he won't let anyone read it until tricks of fate unravel him.  That Gil's and Inez's engagement won't survive the wonders of the city of love is revealed in some of the opening lines: (He) This is unbelievable! Look at this! There's no city like this in the world. There never was. (She) You act like you've never been here before. (He) I don't get here often enough, that's the problem.

Can you picture how drop dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the '20s. Paris in the '20s, in the rain. The artists and writers! (She) Why does every city have to be in the rain? What's wonderful about getting wet? If you find this predictable and guess that he will find a new love in Paris, you are right. After Inez and Gil finally split he will meet a French girl, Gabrielle (acted by Lˇa Seydoux) who would love to walk in the rain with him.

All of the happenings in the present are just a tantalising framework for Gil's trips at midnight back into a Parisian past. From the steps of Montmartre he will journey in a grand old limousine to meet a few of the people who are part of Paris' past history - as viewed by expatriate Americans - they are nearly all Americans in exile.Gil is transported by a vintage Peugeot into the centre of exile life, meeting Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) and Alice B.

Toklas (Thˇr¸se Bourou-Rubinsztein) and a cross section of great writers and artists: F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston) and Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill) and Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll); the musicians, singer Josˇphine Baker (Sonia Rolland) and composer Cole Porter (Yves Heck); and artist Man Ray (Tom Cordier). On these nightly sojourns to the past it is Scott and Zelda who embrace Gil and introduce him to the others.  Gil will receive tips to help him with his new novel from unexpected quarters. 

He will be inspired by a flirtation with the serial-muse who "belonged" to Hemingway and Picasso, Adriana (Marion Cotillard). He will be stimulated by two artists from Spain, Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody) and Luis Bu–uel (Adrien de Van). From the Parisian scene of the past Gil will also interact with the sadly in love Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo).  Further back in the past in the Belle ƒpoque preferred by Adriana, Gil will meet four famous French artists: Henri Matisse (Yves-Antoine Spoto), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Vincent Menjou Cortes), Paul Gauguin (Olivier Rabourdin) and Edgar Degas (Fran¨ois Rostain).

It is all great fun. This is Woody Allen at his best as he plunges Gil into an apex of writers and artists from previous eras and confronts their creative and personal lives, their dilemmas and possible resolutions.  Midnight in Paris is one hour and 38 minutes long. It is rated PG. The director is Woody Allen who also wrote the script.The cinematographer is Darius Khondji who makes the present shinning white and films the past a beautiful amber light. The editor is Alisa Lepselter. The music is by Cole Porter and other past greats. Be prepared to kick up your feet. sasa_majuma@yahoo.co.uk



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