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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."