News / Arts & Entertainment

Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris' is Love Letter to City of Light

Left to Right: Michael Sheen as Paul, Nina Arianda as Carol, Rachel McAdams as Inez and Owen Wilson as Gil
Left to Right: Michael Sheen as Paul, Nina Arianda as Carol, Rachel McAdams as Inez and Owen Wilson as Gil

Multimedia

Audio

The films of Woody Allen have famously celebrated the romantic side of his native New York. His latest comedy shines that spotlight on another city that, for many, is synonymous with romance.  Here's a look at Midnight In Paris.



GIL: "This is unbelievable! There's no city like this in the world."
INEZ: "You're in love with a fantasy."


For aspiring American novelist Gil Pender, the fantasy comes alive as he visits Paris with his pragmatic fiancée Inez. She thinks it's a nice place to sightsee and shop. But Gil, like generations of writers and artists before him, finds inspiration in the cafes and bars once haunted by Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso. So imagine his amazement when, out alone one midnight, he finds himself transported, in an elegant old Peugeot no less, into their presence. 

ADRIANA: "Tell me more about your book."
GIL: "My book is kind of… You know what? I couldn't care less about my book tonight. I just want to walk around Paris with you."
ADRIANA: "I keep forgetting you are just a tourist."
GIL: "That's putting it mildly."


Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard plays the captivating woman Gil meets on his nightly visits to 1920's café society. And Owen Wilson stars as the wide-eyed visitor from across the decades.

Writer/director Woody Allen admits the story had prosaic origins.

"I was going to make a film in Paris because it was being financed and I had no idea for a film in Paris," he explains. "I thought that it would be a romantic film because we all grew up on Paris in the movies as romantic and I thought of the title, Midnight in Paris. For a long time - six weeks or so - I didn't know what happened at midnight in Paris. Do two people meet? Are they having an affair? What is happening? Then one day it occurred to me that the protagonist would be walking along on the street, a car would pull up and there would be some exciting people and they would take him on an adventure."

Gil finds himself drawn to the lifestyle of those great artists from long ago in the story that Allen weaves gently and naturally.  But the director credits his cast.  

"As soon as they are hired for the movie, I tell them that they are free. If there's a joke or a speech I wrote that embarrasses them to say, they don't want to say it and I couldn't care less. They can say it in their own words. As long as they make it real and exciting or amusing, I am very happy to take credit for it later," Allen jokes.

At the Cannes Film Festival, where Midnight in Paris had its international debut, lead actor Owen Wilson said the director's style put him at ease.

"The way that Woody worked with me was he gave me a lot of freedom to try different things and wasn't so exacting on getting every word precise. So I felt very comfortable trying different things," Wilson explains.

Rachel McAdams plays Gil's fiancée, puzzled by his nightly disappearances. "Comfortable" is also the way McAdams describes Allen's approach to filmmaking.

"I just really appreciated how much he trusts in the people he has around him," says McAdams. "The whole set had an ease to it, and everyone felt really relaxed and comfortable and I think that makes for better work."

McAdams describes Midnight in Paris as "a love letter" to the City of Light. And the cast also features Carla Bruni Sarkozy, France's first lady, in a small role that Woody Allen says he offered her on a whim.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

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.
Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisisi
X
March 06, 2015 12:28 AM
There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Sierra Leone Ebola Orphans Face Another Crisis

There's growing concern about the future of an orphanage run by a British charity in Sierra Leone, after a staff member and his wife died this week from Ebola. The Saint George Foundation Orphanage in Freetown is now in quarantine, with more than 20 children and seven staff in lock-down. The BBC has agreed to share Ebola-related material with Voice of America because of the difficulties faced by media organizations reporting the crisis. Clive Myrie reports from Sierra Leone.
Video

Video Growing Concerns Over Whether Myanmar’s Next Elections Will Be Fair

Myanmar has scheduled national elections for November that are also expected to include a landmark referendum on the country's constitution. But there are growing concerns over whether the government is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a free and fair vote. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman was recently in Myanmar and files this report from our Southeast Asia bureau in Bangkok.
Video

Video Nigeria’s Ogonis Divided Over Resuming Oil Production

More than two decades ago, Nigeria’s Ogoni people forced Shell oil company to cease drilling on their land, saying it was polluting the environment. Now, some Ogonis say it’s time for the oil to flow once again. Chris Stein reports from Kegbara Dere, Nigeria.
Video

Video Winter Weather Strikes Eastern US...Again!

A new wintry blast has hit more than 20 states in the U.S. Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region, adding more snow to the piles from previous storms. Tired of shoveling snow, breaking the ice and dealing with accidents, flight delays and property damage, most Americans hope this is the last bout of cold for the season. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Myanmar's Traditional Fashion Choices Endure

The sartorial choices of Myanmar’s men and women quickly catch the eye of any visitor to the tropical Southeast Asian country. But at a time when Myanmar’s political and economic opening is bringing affordable western fashions to the masses, will the country’s unique fashion trends endure? VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Yangon explores that question.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures