Banquet on wheels
December 17, 2012 8:40 PM   Subscribe

The intro scene to 'Midnight in Paris' (2011. SLYT)
posted by growabrain (70 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Chapter One: He adored New York City. Although to him it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage.... Too angry. I don't want to be angry.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Saw this in the theatre and yet the only thing that stayed in my mind (till now) was how sprawling Paris was. It must have been a pretty busy day for that beauty to have faded from memory so soon.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:58 PM on December 17, 2012


Shakespeherian: I considered using exactly these lines as a subtitle to the link! The amazing contrast to the older movie is the use of color vs. B&W
posted by growabrain at 9:00 PM on December 17, 2012


Dear Directors: please stop color "enhancing" your films. Seriously, I'm crying. It's just so awful.
posted by sbutler at 9:03 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


re: color enhancing, this says it all. They are trying to create a specific mood or style, often based on moods or styles from well known works that seep into our subconscious. I don't think it's a new idea or even a bad idea, maybe an overdone one.
posted by stbalbach at 9:33 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hi Metafilter. Long time no see.

That was really beautiful...you could just hear him telling his cinematographer "go out and get shots of the city no one has seen in films before". The color thing aside, I was really caught up in it all. Until...

Owen Wilson's voice.
posted by jpoulos at 9:40 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The color grading in this is indeed a bit heavyhanded, but it's by no means a new or novel technique.
posted by schmod at 9:41 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the first film Allen used digital color enhancement on, mostly as a test to see if he liked it as compared to traditional chemical color timing.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:42 PM on December 17, 2012


The cinematographer for this film was Darius Khondji, a French-Iranian filmmaker who lensed the marvelous Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children for Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, as well as Se7en and Panic Room for David Fincher. He was Neil Jordan's cinematographer for In Dreams, lensed Danny Boyle's The Beach, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Evita.

Here's a New York Times piece about Khondji:

In an e-mail message Mr. Allen described Mr. Khondji as “one of the elite cameramen in the world, a very sensitive artist.”

“He’s a technically superb craftsman with the soul of an artist,” Mr. Gray said in a telephone interview from New York. “He’s into new things that are technically wrong but achieve a certain emotional effect. Like letting half the frame go black, or letting an actor fall off into the darkness on purpose. I love the man.”

Here's Academy Award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister on Khondji: While Phedon, Janusz and I were still making our way on smaller films, Darius exploded into our field of view in 1991 with a French-language film called "Delicatessen." The contrast, the color, the lighting was something we were in awe of, and became a source of incredible artistic inspiration. Darius followed up with extraordinary work in "The City of Lost Children," then "Seven," and created a new gold standard for our generation of cinematographers, particularly for me, as I continued struggling to free myself from the shackles of low-budget, straight-to-video movies.

Here is Khondji on deciding how to lens Midnight in Paris: Khondji says for Midnight in Paris, he took inspiration from George Bellows paintings and photos from the 1920s. He shot Kodak film stock in 3-perf Super 35, sometimes pull-processing. He found the right lenses for the 20s scenes, Cooke Speed Panchro Series II and III, collecting dust on the shelves at Panavision in Paris. Khondji felt that the older coatings – or lack of coatings – helped render the right feel. The period images were darker and warmer.

Woody Allen discusses working with Khondji on the film:

We talk about the lighting beforehand and the approach we’re going to take. The one uniform thing that all the cameramen do that I want that’s basic is that I want warm pictures. I don’t like pictures where the actors are wearing blue. I don’t like sunny days. I like the weather to be flat, gray and the colors to be autumnal: yellow, beige, brown, tan, gold. And it’s very important that the color correction is very, very warm. You can see it in “Midnight in Paris.”

When I first started working with Sven Nykvist, he used to say to me, “The actors all look like tomatoes,” but then he got to like it. I like it intensely red, intensely warm, because if you go to a restaurant, and you’re there with your wife or your girlfriend, and it’s got red-flecked wallpaper and turn-of-the-century lights, you both look beautiful. Whereas if you’re in a seafood restaurant, and the lights are up, everybody looks terrible.

So it looks nice. It’s very flattering and very lovely. And that’s the fundamental aesthetic for the camera work. The rest is that we try and move the camera, whenever possible, without it being too self-conscious to the viewers, so that you don’t want to rush at the screen with an axe and saying, “Stop moving the camera!”

That’s the fundamental thing: that there’s a warm ambience to it all. When I achieve that with a cameraman, then I like to use him again. And then if he’s not busy, I always hire him if I can.

posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:45 PM on December 17, 2012 [32 favorites]


please stop color "enhancing" your films.

There was a time when people would complain that he wasn't using any color at all!
posted by cazoo at 9:45 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know about Woody Allen, but Sidney Bechet might be the greatest jazz musician who ever lived.
posted by koeselitz at 9:48 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Woody would be really good at making jewelry commercials now.
posted by Colonel Panic at 9:50 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wish there was a test of how much we notice in a film that didn't tempt our egos to tempt us to lie.
posted by casual observer at 9:52 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like that shot at 1:45. I don't know why. I wouldn't mind it hanging on my wall, is all.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:54 PM on December 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying it's new or novel. I'm just tired of watching films where the only two dominate colors are blue/turquoise and yellowish-orange/tan. In fact, it ruined the 2nd season of Game of Thrones for me. Melisandre is supposed to be in a red, red, RED dress. But it came out on the TV a washed out brown color.

Maybe Woody Allen specifically wanted this tone for the film. But I'm just sick and tired of it. I want to see colors like in My Fair Lady again.
posted by sbutler at 10:08 PM on December 17, 2012


you could just hear him telling his cinematographer "go out and get shots of the city no one has seen in films before".

Most of the shots are on, or just a few blocks off of, Place de la Concorde. It's hardly a secret spot. The other shots are of extremely famous landmarks. La Moulin Rouge (mostly famous for the film of the same name), La Basilique, Notre Dame - hell, the same stairway as the opening scene in Ronin made it in there. Everything else was just predictable and cheesy: a shot of a cramped, medieval street; Boule players... cinema has this weird fascination of trying to find the remnants of pre-WWII Paris. It's gone, or it's under glass, or it's only there, as a tour guide company wants it to still be there, or what used to be there, is now an underground mall, or a traffic circle.

It could be that what the cinematographer was asked to do was this: "make everything look less busy and less polluted than it really is", and the cinematographer made a mental note, "film most of the shots on Sunday, right when the sun comes up - usual postcard spots". And that was still unsuccessful.

All I thought was: "that's a lot of tourists, milling about".
posted by alex_skazat at 10:26 PM on December 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


It does feel like movies shot in Paris by Parisians these days look drastically different from movies shot by anyone else (well, mostly Americans) in Paris - not that it's better, I guess, just not as romanticized.

Then again, all the native Parisian movies I see these days seem to be focused on a very specific milieu. To believe that they comprehensively represent the city, I'd have to believe that every single person in Paris is a young upper-middle-class professional white person who dresses better than they probably ought to be able to afford to, who works in a highly modern office with high ceilings, who has one or two kids and a spouse who is equally pleasing to the eye (blonde and tall if she's a woman, dark-haired with well-groomed stubble if he's a man) and whose greatest quandary in life is whether or not it's morally acceptable to cheat on said spouse with another equally good-looking upper-middle-class young person.

Granted, I've only seen about half a dozen French movies set in Paris in the past five years or so, but this isn't actually what every single Parisian is like, is it?
posted by koeselitz at 10:42 PM on December 17, 2012


(I mean, I even hear rumors that a goodly portion of Parisians are - gasp - brown.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 PM on December 17, 2012


koeselitz, you need to watch Cache.
posted by orrnyereg at 10:47 PM on December 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


And possibly La Haine, although it is a bit older. But then again, if you told me it was inspired by the 2011 England riots I would have believed you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:55 PM on December 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen this film, so I can't speak for the rest; but the idea of 'capturing' Paris without the banlieues is laughable. Perhaps the best remedy is watching this video [NSFW].
posted by anewnadir at 11:06 PM on December 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now Khondji you're great and imma let you finish but Emmanuel Lubezki is the best cinematographer on the planet right now
posted by nathancaswell at 11:10 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't the whole film about romanticizing the city and living in its past? So then isn't the opening a way to bring the audience into that world while not shying away from contemporary Paris (there are shots of the Pei pyramids after all)? And what about the soundtrack? I mean, obviously this is a calculated and beautiful portrait of a city but it's not a fucking documentary. Allen's "Manhattan" has the exact same opening except it uses Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue to tell a similar story, complete with voiceover. And it's not like Allen had a bunch of shots of crack gangs in Washington Heights or windshield wiper guys at the Lincoln Tunnel, even though the movie was made in '79.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:18 PM on December 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


I agree with Koeselitz.
This is pretty much how I remember Paris.
(Although how I remember Paris is very much shaped by Amelie).
I'm struggling to see what's different about it.

But I find Woody's films over-rated.
posted by Mezentian at 11:21 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


deux choses:

Premier:

I habitually skip looking at video post content until having read the comment thread, and having misread the title, was shocked and intrigued to learn that the cinematographer of "Last Tango in Paris" had also shot "Delicatessen."

Then I realized that actually I am just reading impaired.

Deuxieme:

Un film avec quelques nouvel faits de cinematographe, pour l'annee (deja vu ici, je crois): C'etait un rendezvous.

I think it's fair to say it uses the 'dawn in Paris' thing to good effect.
posted by mwhybark at 11:32 PM on December 17, 2012


Maybe I'm just super shallow but I adored this film. It is on my list of comfort/relaxtime films, right next to My Fair Lady, Ocean's Eleven (Clooney-style), The Illusionist and Fantasia.
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:33 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The whole sequence reminds me of sitting through a returning tourist's slide show - perhaps that is what is intended.

I always like the way that so much American art depicts Paris as a the archetypal foreign city - while the French return the favour by choosing New York (as here in this sequence from "Belleville Rendevous")
posted by rongorongo at 11:42 PM on December 17, 2012


Thinking back, I've posted so many sentimental FPP's like this one through the years;
Here is another from 2007; The link is now borked, so here is a YouTube copy On s'embrasse?
posted by growabrain at 11:42 PM on December 17, 2012


Dear Directors: please stop color "enhancing" your films.

Have you ever seen what film footage looks like out of the camera? Every film since at least the 1940s, I'd guess off hand, is color-corrected in some way. (Color grading is the older term related to the chemical processes done to film, but "color correction" is a little more common these days.)

I do agree "Midnight in Paris," while an excellent film, looked sharp and cheap, almost as if it had been shot on video. IMDB confirms it was shot on 35mm film though it also has this to say:

Cinematographic process
Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format)
Super 35 (3-perf) (source format)


Perhaps someone can enlighten me on what "Digital Intermediate (2K)" means, because I'm at a loss for why any studio film would be using 2K for anything whatsoever. It's quite possible to edit and finish a film at 4 or 5K on your Mac in your living room these days.

Technical nitpickery aside, my guess upon first seeing it was that, even though Woody Allen is Woody Allen, he's not getting the budgets he used to.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:21 AM on December 18, 2012


Unless they are saying they edited at 2K as a proxy and printed it back to film?
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:26 AM on December 18, 2012


The titles have one of my favorite jokes in the whole film! Owen Wilson talking about how he should have gotten out of the horrid movie writing business to live in paris and write novels: "Written and Directed by Woody Allen". Such a perfect setup for what is an honest Woody Allen fantasy.
posted by macrael at 12:37 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I doubt that scene would have left nearly the same impression on me without the Sidney Bechet recording. Or this one: "You look lost."
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:45 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Isn't the whole film about romanticizing the city and living in its past? So then isn't the opening a way to bring the audience into that world while not shying away from contemporary Paris (there are shots of the Pei pyramids after all)? And what about the soundtrack? I mean, obviously this is a calculated and beautiful portrait of a city but it's not a fucking documentary.

Because IMHO it's very much boring. You're not capturing anything but the idealized Paris that tourists look for. That's very different than romanticizing things, that's dumbing down things.

It boggles my mind that something as trite as this opening scene could be made after, say, Last Tango in Paris. Or, Delpy's "2 Days in Paris" would also be acceptable, and most likely more accessible.

I only lived there a few short months, but an extremely crowded city has certain traits that just seem ridiculously marginalized when the minority of it's "charms" are idealized, like this opening scene. At its best, portrayals like this simply make me roll my eyes.

To end this at a positive note, a very romantic and incredible - and interestingly complex book about Paris that I'll recommend is, Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris, by Graham Robb. Paris is a complex city, but I'm not seeing it in false colored postcard shots, made to make me think of Seurat's color palette.
posted by alex_skazat at 2:01 AM on December 18, 2012


You're not capturing anything but the idealized Paris that tourists look for.

The message is "It's story time". It's really not that difficult to understand. Once upon a time in a place far away. It's a formula that says "we're dealing with the semi-mythical here".

It was never intended to be Les Ripoux, La Haine, or Le Samouraï.
posted by Wolof at 2:20 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Essentially every movie you've seen in a theater in the last several years has had a digital intermediate done. Almost nothing is done with a strictly photochemical finish anymore. Effects-heavy movies often go at a 4k DI but most films get away with 2k. They're doing things like changing skies, manipulating lighting and colors, digitally erasing lavaliere mics or evidence of modernity in period pics, even just taking out telephone poles in the farmland that offend the director's sensibilities. Basically every single film.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 2:30 AM on December 18, 2012


Yes, these shots are basically moving postcards. The only difference with a usual American movie featuring Paris is that the Eiffel Tower is not in all the shots. Allen did the same with To Rome with love, with only a few shots of the Coliseum. Still, a native Parisian (and working in an area often blocked for film-making purposes...), I won't complain. The city is pretty and there's no shortage of movies showing its darker sides anyway. An American in Paris did not show the post-WWII bidonvilles either, and they were much worse than the modern banlieues.
posted by elgilito at 2:54 AM on December 18, 2012


Yes, these shots are basically moving postcards. The only difference with a usual American movie featuring Paris is that the Eiffel Tower is not in all the shots.

Aha, so the reason I don't understand this post is that I'm not American.
*looks whistfully out the window over Ayres Rock and the Opera House*
posted by Mezentian at 3:07 AM on December 18, 2012


There's nothing inherently wrong with being a tourist. Can I just say, I dislike the implied sneer around that word? You work hard, you have precious little vacation time, suddenly you get a moment of calm, and your wife says "Let's go to Paris". What's supposed to happen here? "No honey, we're not worthy"?
posted by newdaddy at 3:50 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


>Un film avec quelques nouvel faits de cinematographe, pour l'annee (deja vu ici, je crois): C'etait un rendezvous.

I think it's fair to say it uses the 'dawn in Paris' thing to good effect
.

I had never see "C'etait un rendezvous" before - my heart rate is still returning to normal. The film was discussed previously on Metafilter.

According to the above IMDB link "C'etait un rendezvous" was first shown in the US as a trailer for Woody Allen's 1978 movie "Interiors" - so this there is an ounce of relevance to this thread.
posted by rongorongo at 3:52 AM on December 18, 2012


Let me please immediately apologize and retract my previous comment. This thread is not about me, I realize.
posted by newdaddy at 3:59 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because IMHO it's very much boring. You're not capturing anything but the idealized Paris that tourists look for. That's very different than romanticizing things, that's dumbing down things.

Have you seen the film in question? There's a good chance that Woody Allen made the movie he wanted to make, not the movie you want to make.
posted by the cydonian at 4:01 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear directors: please stop "enhancing" your sound. I hate being able to hear what the actors are saying.
posted by fungible at 4:19 AM on December 18, 2012


The perfect introduction to one of his very best recent movies. If your objection is that it doesn't represent Paris as it really is (because of colour enhancement, because of not showing the suburbs, whatever) just wait till the part where characters travel through time, which also doesn't happen in the real Paris.

As has already been said: honest fantasy. An enormously, purely entertaining film.
posted by oliverburkeman at 4:54 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh. You can talk up and intellectualize his color choices all you want, but they still look like crap. There must be more creative ways to create a nostalgic aura than bathing everything in a warm, flattening color filter.
posted by timsneezed at 5:11 AM on December 18, 2012


I just thought it was a terrible movie. Perhaps it got better but I stopped watching halfway through. The biggest problem I had is that all of the characters from the past were just clichés of themselves, self-caricatures. The city of Paris is just another cliché among them. Sure, its a fantasy but its the same fantasy from countless other movies, from American in Paris to Forget Paris. A city not of real Parisians but a mere cardboard backdrop for Americans to propose marriage while the accordion sounds of Edith Piaf float in the background.

The most common question on the Chowhound Paris board is usually a honeymooning couple looking not for great food necessarily but for that idealized Paris bistro. You know the one, with the sassy waiter with the moustache, the checkered tablecloths, the whole package. The Paris in American's mind which overlaps only slightly with any real city. (There's arguably a good movie to be made about this conflict, about Japanese tourists fainting from Paris syndrome)

If Woody Allen's movie was about the fantasy of an American writer then it was a tired, boring fantasy.
posted by vacapinta at 5:13 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


I enjoyed the movie. To me the overemphasis on gritty realism in recent years is boring and tends to water down the unique perspectives of individual voices. I thought it was daring that Allen went in the other direction, and depicted Paris in a very biased, unrealistic way.

I still hate the color, though.
posted by timsneezed at 5:23 AM on December 18, 2012


Mezentian: "*looks whistfully out the window over Ayres Rock and the Opera House*"

Big window, or just very clear skies?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:24 AM on December 18, 2012


It must have taken a lot of bandwidth to Instagram a whole movie.
posted by cacofonie at 5:33 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, if you can do a music video...
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:41 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


One Paris-based movie where the color palette really surprised me is the Red balloon (1956). It's all in gray-blue-brown (with spots of bright red) but the Technicolor looks much richer than the mute palettes used in the digitally-corrected contemporary movies, where the filtering (typically blue, yellow or orange/teal) always seems to reduce color depth.
posted by elgilito at 5:53 AM on December 18, 2012


but the Technicolor looks much richer than the mute palettes used in the digitally-corrected contemporary movies, where the filtering (typically blue, yellow or orange/teal) always seems to reduce color depth.

These color corrected movies typically look *more saturated* to me than pre color corrected movies, but simultaneously the dynamic range and richness of the colors is flattened.
posted by timsneezed at 6:02 AM on December 18, 2012


Seeing this in the theatre, I actually wept from the beauty.

Second time, too.

I love Paris, I love Woody, and I love this movie. And that's OK.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:42 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Big window, or just very clear skies?

Clear skies, over boundless plains (which we had to share, once).
posted by Mezentian at 7:32 AM on December 18, 2012


If your objection is that it doesn't represent Paris as it really is [...] just wait till the part where characters travel through time, which also doesn't happen in the real Paris.

This. It's a comedy about time-travel. Sure, it's not the real Paris. It also never was a real DeLorean, nor was it ever a real hot tub.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:44 AM on December 18, 2012


It must have taken a lot of bandwidth to Instagram a whole movie.

Speaking of which, I just watched "Moonrise Kingdom" last night.

The most common question on the Chowhound Paris board is usually a honeymooning couple looking not for great food necessarily but for that idealized Paris bistro. You know the one, with the sassy waiter with the moustache, the checkered tablecloths, the whole package.

I'm sure everyone on Chowhound knows this, but that's Chez Francis, Pont Alma. Sidewalk bistro. Views of the tower. Checkered table cloths. Mustachio'd waiters. Unmemorable food. Pricey.

koeselitz, you need to watch Cache.

Is that the one where Juliette Binoche's computer keeps running really slowly and she finally convinces her negligent husband that it is a problem and *something* must be done?
posted by jph at 7:52 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I got the chance to visit Paris several times as a result of my work. I spent a week there in August and did a significant amount of investigating shortly before a after sunrise each day. The opening is very nostalgic for me that includes the emptiness of some landmarks and the coloring produced in the golden hour with the sun rising through the summer dust (polluted) sky. It was a totally different place during an April visit filled with wet busy humanity and totally different lighting. I'll not apologize for being a tourist in Paris, as a destination it was one of my favorites. I even managed a sidewalk cafe sit down as cliche as that sounds complete with the surly waiter who corrected my French and spoke a very passable English. He kept trying to turn over the table and I clung to my rented space on the boulevard. Cliches do come true..it could happen to you... unless you are suffering from a terminal case of hipsterism. Did I mention the Finnish stewardess I met in Harry's one night? Seems Paris affects more than Americans vive l'amour.
posted by pdxpogo at 8:00 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen this film, so I can't speak for the rest; but the idea of 'capturing' Paris without the banlieues is laughable. Perhaps the best remedy is watching this video [NSFW].

I never really had much interest in watching Midnight in Paris, but that was fantastic (and I'd heard nothing from Justice since "D.A.N.C.E.") so thank you for that.
posted by psoas at 8:06 AM on December 18, 2012


"Unless they are saying they edited at 2K as a proxy and printed it back to film?"

That was my first reading of it... although why not edit a 1k proxy, if you're going to apply your edits to a 4k master? I think they scanned at 2k, did their work there, then printed out to film.
posted by sutt at 8:09 AM on December 18, 2012


The intro was the best part of the movie. The music makes it, ambling from one pretty little phrase to the next, and the movie goes along perfectly showing pretty pictures, seemingly over the course of a specific day that had bit of rain in the afternoon. The pacing and length create a nice effect that's more than just a handful of establishing shots with some music. It's its own little mini story. It's fantasy but it's also saying this is a real place, you could be here right now.

The actual movie part of the movie was not so great, but it had a kind of safe/sentimental/cliche/feeble/passive/toothless charm. There's almost no tension in it, it's kind of funny how it is always defusing its own tensions. Owen Wilson loves Paris and Paris (magically) loves him back and that makes it all okay.
posted by fleacircus at 8:21 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I liked this movie. Saw it without knowing anything about it - I didn't even know Allen directed until I was in the theater - and thought it was pretty great. Didn't change my life or anything but it was overall really good.

The one major weak area was that Rachel McAdams's character is never allowed to be anything but an over-the-top castrating shrew, and it's never at all clear why anyone would be engaged to her. I kind of expected there to be more going on there, what with the nice little fakeout the script pulls with Cotillard: she seems to be a classy sort of Laid-Back Pixie Dream Girl and eventually the viewer realizes she's just as lost as everyone else. McAdams, though, was just a bludgeon of a character.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2012


Another good "the other Paris" movie is Tell No One -- which is actually a New Jersey setting transposed to France (it's a Harlan Coben story). If you want the flip side of American unrealism, in France it's that a guy who looks older than Harrison Ford has ever looked is capable of running flat out all over the city to save his beloved, who was his narratively same-age childhood sweetheart played by an actress fifteen years younger. (That's French film for you -- I kind of respect them for sticking with older, stalwart male actors but they make them ridiculously athletic for their age and too often pair them with ludicrously youthful women. On the other hand they do give beautiful actresses extremely challenging material.) The movie, in any case, is one of the few that visits the banlieus. Speaking of which, if you haven't seen A Prophet, you should.

I didn't much enjoy MiP, although Owen Wilson was actually well-used for his goofy charm and eternal mild confusion here. Ultimately I felt the movie, a deliberate call-back to Manhattan, showed how little Allen knew of his new adopted home even after, what, twenty years? compared with NYC. But then, I've never been a big fan of Manhattan either (the film that introduced us to Allen's penchant for dating the age-challenged).

Ultimately I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with depicting an idealized version of a place, but Paris is so heavily over-used in this regard Allen should have realized how lazy it would look.
posted by dhartung at 9:13 AM on December 18, 2012


FAMOUS MONSTER: I agree absolutely. It was disappointing that her character remained so un-fun the whole way through, she seemed too unbelievable. I did really enjoy how the super obnoxious professor dude was the absolute voice of truth throughout the movie, he already knew what Owen Wilson had to learn.
posted by macrael at 10:23 AM on December 18, 2012


Kind of washed out, like travel memories.

J'adore Paris.

All credit to the delusions, Woody's, Owen's, & mine, of living there and of love. I thought the movie was hilarious caricatures -- of all those delusions, plus over-the-top caricatures of the writers and painters 11th-grade students know. Just a mindless picture not to be taken seriously. Perfect for that.
posted by surplus at 11:37 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


But I find Woody's films over-rated.

I think Gerard Depardoo said it best about the American Film Industry

" they make a little poo and they say it ees such a big theeng!"
posted by Colonel Panic at 11:45 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


About the Justice clip: it was controversial in France when it was released, for its heavy-handed and context-free use of the usual clichés related to the banlieues : violence, gangs, and young black men. It looks like the kind of racist, fear-mongering fantasy the extreme-right has been propagating there for decades. The authors - who are definitely not young black men from the suburbs - offered a weak (though possibly honest) defense of the work. It is, at best, exploitative. In a nutshell: it's not really more authentic than Woody's quaint and idealized Paris and it is possibly much more hurtful.
posted by elgilito at 1:32 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


plus over-the-top caricatures of the writers and painters 11th-grade students know.

Yeah, just the fact that Hemingway speaks in a clipped Bad Hemingway parody-esque manner should be enough to tip the viewer off to how realistic the film expects everything to be. The point is that Wilson's character has a phony veneer of an idea of where/when he wishes he lived, and the film indulges him for a long while in that, and then gradually reveals that it's terribly unrealistic and kinda selfish to idealize others' lives that way.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite mashup videos (NSFW).
posted by funkiwan at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2012


The street thugs in paris video was not likely shot on film, there are no b/w video camera, ergo, another form of "color enhancing".
posted by sammyo at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2012


If you think of Woody as a writer this intro makes sense. He's just showing off his main character's "girlfriend", Paris, and wants you to appreciate her too. He's not going to show you her leg stubble, her wonky big toe or her secret bald spot on the back of her head. This is a setup for a love story.

I'm still not a fan of digital interface, HD and over doing color correction. It always makes me feel like I'm watching an early soap opera produced on crappy early video.

It doesn't really matter, but I most appreciate Woody as a comic and philosopher.
posted by snsranch at 4:30 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The one major weak area was that Rachel McAdams's character is never allowed to be anything but an over-the-top castrating shrew, and it's never at all clear why anyone would be engaged to her.

Agreed.

The definitive reading.
posted by kenko at 7:57 PM on December 18, 2012


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