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Midnight In Paris (2011) (Movies To See Before You Die - Adventure) - A film which teaches you a very important lesson of life regarding the PAST.

19 Jan, 2014 | Movies To See Before You Die / Adventure

Widely acclaimed and included among the best works of the maestro Woody Allen, this is one of those unique films conceived around the ‘Time Travel’ concept, which both entertains as well teaches you a basic but extremely important chapter of life, with a great insight. Revolving around the Paris vacation of its lead character, Gil (who is a Hollywood writer), it takes you onto a nostalgic, romantic and entertaining trip back in time in the famous Woody Allen style, full of truthful disclosures & witty dialogues clearly unveiling the delusions of the past impressively.
Beginning with Gil struggling to write his first novel, it introduces you to his romantic thoughts about the city of Paris and its golden past of 1920s. Now one night, when he is wandering alone on the lonely streets, he finds an unexpected invitation from an unknown vehicle, which he duly accepts and finds himself taken onto an unbelievable trip to the past, in a social party, where he gets to meet all the famous names of those times in the literary circles. Gill is simply thrilled to meet everyone he used to admire, along with many more known names of the past, moving live in front of his eyes like a dream. These repeated trips back in various time periods make him realize the imperfect world we are living in from ages, wherein everyone is in awe of its golden past and is willing to live that again with an undisclosed hope.
So there is something unique and special about this Woody Allen kind of time travel, which is full of surprises, love, inspiration, interesting connecting links, a thought realistic approach and few blunt historical truths too, which rarely have been a feature of any other film made on this very subject. The director subtly yet beautifully recreates the old time periods, keeping a keen eye on its wonderful architecture, memorable landmarks, the changing costumes and other finer details which truly charm the viewers with their remarkable magic of that magnificent past. Plus one can also find that famous Woody Allen touch too in its sequences full of many funny, clever but honest remarks made with a great sense of humour.
On the performance front, the film can easily be called as a splendid ensemble of a talented cast, where every actor plays his or her assigned role (of the famous character from the past like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, T. S Eliot & more) outstandingly and makes you believe their individual outlook and vision in that specific time period in a justified manner. But taking this same thought forward, frankly many (like myself) might not be familiar with several ‘Big Western Names’ coming into its narration at several moments. So to enjoy this superb entertainer even better, I would suggest that you go on and GOOGLE every new personality’s name as it comes in the film and see for what they were known for in the history and then how they have been represented in the film by the visionary director. Because knowing the background of its each and every character of the past is a kind of essential to get to the basic essence of the movie, as I strongly felt. Moreover you are sure going to enjoy this joyride much more in that particular way undoubtedly.
Now coming to the important lesson of life, (once again learned from this movie personally), I would like to admit that a few decades back, I also used to love & praise the past a lot more than the present times, often. And I know many of my friends do the same too, when we remember the times of Golden 60s or 70s in our Indian Cinema fondly or when we recall the time period (of living in harmony) before the bloody partition of 1947 or the times of Mirza Ghalib and others renowned writers, artists, poets, painters, sportsmen, politicians of the past as per our own preferences or interests. So it’s quite often when we get to hear people saying this common phrase that, “Those were the golden eras lived by our great artists…………as compared to the present mean times……………and Ab Woh Waqt Kahan?.”
Honestly, the thought used to haunt me too in my college days till I read the famous creation “Madhushala” by Sh. Harivansh Rai Bachchan, which has a truly memorable and precious life teaching verse dealing with this debatable notion mentioned above. And the lesson got revived after decades, when I recently watched the introspective progression of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, dealing with the same basic reality of life in a quite different but amusing manner.
Actually in this reflective classic, the main protagonist Gil is living in the present 21st century (in 2010) but loves the era of 1920s and its famous creative exponents passionately. Luckily he finds a means to travel in time and goes back to the 1920 amongst his favourite creators. But meeting them all, he surprisingly finds that instead of enjoying that golden period (of the 1920s) they are busy praising the artistic-wave of the late 19th century in comparison. And after a while when Gil goes into the late 19th century, then there too he finds them all saying that, “This generation is empty with no imagination” and again praising the Renaissance era of the gone centuries instead. So strangely, Gil finds every creative person praising the past only and not living the present in the most celebrative way as they should. And that’s exactly when he gets this valuable insight of life that we got to respect, live and love the present to the most, instead of always sticking to the past.
Honestly if truth be spoken, then we all think in the same way, finding some kind of solace in the thought that perhaps the past was much better than the present and so were the creative people living in that gone era. But in reality, all we have got is the ‘Present’ in hand and we urgently need to realize its importance, living it to the maximum, exploring all our creative abilities along with our friends and well wishers of the current times at the earliest. Besides, the past is not to be forgotten, but to be remembered as a wise teacher, in order to make the best of this gifted life, instead of just clinging to those gone years in our dreams.
Writer, director Woody Allen very deservingly won the OSCAR for Best Writing & Original Screenplay in 2012 for this film, as it surely remains one of the most original thought provoking screenplay written in the recent times. Admittedly, for many friends the film might not turn out to be as entertaining as you might expect on the lines of “Back To The Future” series. Being a Woody Allen movie, it mostly relies on the mutual conversations of its various characters only and is not interested in presenting any high energy action or electrifying sequences as mostly associated with a Time Travel film.
Hence if you wish to have an intellectual journey back in time, cleverly organized by a one of the most inventive and creative director of the present times. Then do go for this philosophical voyage at the earliest and learn one of most valuable lesson of life, teaching the acceptable difference between our present and the past in a lovable way.

Written & Directed By : Woody Allen
Starring : Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates and more.
And for friends who would like to read the particular verse of Sh. Harvinash Rai Bachhan related with the subject of past and present comparison, it has been shared below with its English interpretation too.
“Apne Yug Mein Sabko Anupam Gyaat Hui Apni Haala,
Apne Yug Mein Sabko Adbhut Gyaat Hua Apna Pyaala,
Phir Bhi Vridhon Se Jab Poocha Ek Yahi Uttar Paaya,
Ab Na Rahey Woh Peenewale, Ab Na Rahi Woh Madhushala”

(In their time everyone thinks that he is enjoying the wine of life to the best,
In their time everyone thinks that their style of living is the best offered by the Supreme Power,
But still whenever someone asks the old people then they all have only one answer,
That Ah! those were the times, those were the days and now nobody knows how to enjoy life and live it in style.)

(Sh. Harivnash Rai Bachchan in his MADHUSHALA)


Tags : Midnight In Paris (2011), Movies To See Before You Die Adventure, Must watch films list by Bobby sing, Worth Watching World Classics List at bobbytalkscinema.com, Not to be missed films list by Bobby Sing, Woody Allen Classic Cinema, Oscar Winner Movies
19 Jan 2014 / Comment ( 2 )

One of my all time fav.

It really did teach me a lot about life and made me change the way I used to look at my "present"..

However I still long for my school days :( (kuch insaan kabhi nahi sudharte..)

Bobby Sing

Thanks Avik for writing in and I am glad that the film could teach you a valuable lesson of life too.
Keep visiting and sharing your thoughts often.

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