arts

Midnight in Paris

I settled into my cinema seat and waited impatiently through the coming attractions for the feature film to begin. Woody Allen and castReady for my Paris fix by watching the much-discussed Midnight in Paris. The film began, with the brassy, jazzy trumpet music playing over the familiar sights of my favorite city.

But… something was wrong.

The colors.

Everything seemed too yellow. “Woody Allen got it all wrong, “ I was thinking. I am way too possessive about my Paris knowledge. “Is he trying to make it look like Kodachrome or something?” I was fuming just a little. “The light in Paris is silvery, not gold. The buildings are soft grey, and he is trying to make the buildings look as if they are all made of sandstone.” Even the gold leaf on the fountain at the place de la Concorde was too shiny, and the verdigris was too green. The wet nighttime streets should be reflections of pewter and chrome, not glimmers of gold. It wasn’t MY Paris, in any case, I harrumphed inwardly. What was he thinking??

Nevertheless, thrilled with seeing familiar spots, I somehow managed to refrain from elbowing Miss Bee at recognition of every panorama, every street scene in the introduction. I just reveled in knowing virtually every locale. Miss Smuggy-pants. When Owen Wilson first walked into Le Bristol, I couldn’t resist and leaned over and whispered “That’s Le Bristol.”

It’s occasionally truly obnoxious to be in the role of “I used to live in Paris.” This was no exception. I tried hard to suppress my oh-so-superior knowledge of the settings. Especially since Woody had gone so overboard on the gold. His shots of the admittedly posh Le Bristol seemed over-the-top in the gilt and gold-plate department. I didn’t get it.

But soon enough I was ensconced in the plot, and the Owen Wilson along Seinecinematographic details took a back seat.

I did, however, almost jump out of my seat and hissed loudly to Bee, “That’s DEYROLLE!” In the scene with the champagne-soaked party surrounded by taxidermied animals. “Drole?” she whispered back. “D-E-Y-R-O-L-L-E! Deyrolle, my favorite taxidermy store!” I was beside myself.

I hate people who talk in movies.

As the movie progressed all I could do was admire Woody Allen's brilliance. This film was a magical modern-day fantastic tale interwoven with The Kugelmass Episode, Back to the Future, and Grimm's The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Then, at one point, Owen Wilson's and Marion Cotillard's characters were in deep conversation about what it means to live in a golden era. One's nostalgia for a more golden era is sometimes missing the point that the golden era is actually the present.

"Ah," I sank back in my seat.

The golden-yellow light of Paris was brilliant, Mr. Allen.

Polly is a Boston born Baby Boomer who lived on the Left Bank in Paris and is still blogging about it at Polly-Vous Francais. © 2006-2010, Polly-Vous Francais, all rights reserved.

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