News / USA

    Woody Allen Pays Homage to City of Light

    'Midnight in Paris' recalls the past, looks to the present

    0wen Wilson channels Woody Allen and Rachel McAdams is his materialistic girlfriend in 'Midnight in Paris.'
    0wen Wilson channels Woody Allen and Rachel McAdams is his materialistic girlfriend in 'Midnight in Paris.'

    Multimedia

    Penelope Poulou

    Woody Allen taps into the allure of a bygone era in "Midnight in Paris." The acclaimed filmmaker captures a picture-perfect Paris and presents an intimate story in a centuries-old city only to remind us that, as much as we glorify the past, it's best to live in the present.  

    Gil, an American screen writer, and his fiancée, Inez, take a romantic trip to Paris. Gil is smitten with Inez but the two are worlds apart. He wants to live the Bohemian life in Paris writing novels. She is materialistic, impressed by status and attached to her ultra-conservative parents, who are in Paris with the couple so the father can clinch a business deal.

    The relationship between Inez and Gil begins to disintegrate. Things get especially tense when Inez meets up with old friends; her girlfriend from college and her fiancée, Paul, a professor at the Sorbonne who's a pretentious know-it-all.

    Gil has had enough of Paul. He wants to be alone. As he strolls along the quaint Parisian streets, the clock strikes midnight.

    All of a sudden, he's transported back to the 1920s, where he meets Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and the American writer Ernest Hemingway.

    And he falls in love, for real this time, with Adriana, an alleged mistress of Picasso, played by Marion Cotillard. Every night, Gil visits an enchanted past and every morning he wakes up in the 21st century.  

    Woody Allen delivers this fairytale with wit and comic lightness, while treating us to a magical Paris.

    “I wanted to show the city emotionally, the way I felt about it," says Allen."It didn’t matter how real it was or what it reflected. I just wanted it to be the way I saw Paris, Paris through my eyes.”

    Owen Wilson stars in Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris.'
    Owen Wilson stars in Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris.'

    To portray the great intellectuals of the time, Allen cast a group of A-list actors such as Adrian Brody, who plays Salvador Dali.

    “You know this was the first time I had accepted to play Dali," Brody says. "I have been offered this role several times in different incarnations. It was a relatively limited glimpse of that man in his life so I spent a great deal of my time researching the shape of the rhinoceros. That’s all.”

    Along with the superstars, Carla Bruni, the first lady of France, has a small role as a museum guide.

    Like Paris, the film enchants. But the rendition of an ethereal City of Light is out of step with the dialogue, which lacks depth. Owen Wilson, as Gil, mimics Woody Allen's style so much that it distracts. We feel we’re watching a young Woody Allen. As Inez, Rachel McAdams is a convincing shrew but her performance is too theatrical.

    There are many hilarious moments as well as magic in the midnight Paris air. But, like whimsy, this film has no lasting power.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora