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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”