Yesterday I went to the movies to see Midnight in Paris. Among my friends, only a few are into movies. That does not include my family among whom are some really several knowledgeable fans. My movie loving friends have for months encouraged me to see the above flick.
I use to be a serious Woody Allen fan until that terrible situation with his “adopted” daughter. I realize that just because a person commits an immoral act, a horrible immoral act, that does not mean that person cannot produce great art. History is full of examples of great artists, in fact great persons who would not be welcome around my dinner table. Nevertheless, it took a several talking to myselfs and the discovery that Woody Allen was not actually in the movie to get me into the theater. The other reasons that it took so long for me to view the film was the fact that I had to be in the right mood to get into my car and drive by myself to the theater which is only 20 minutes away. Why that act is such a problem for me, I do not know. I digress.
The film moved me. Yes, the theme is Allen’s stand-by – why am I here? – why am I preoccupied with death? But, this film with its references to the great artists of Paris in the 1920’s, provided any one who had freshman (college) literature in the 50’s and 60’s a great big sigh for the good old days.
It is not my intention to give away the plot. Let’s just say that anyone who has thrilled to Hemingway or to Fitzgerald, or has rejoiced at seeing a Picasso or a Miro will identify with the protagonist. To his credit, Allen does not lump himself in with that august bunch. In the movie, is content to think of himself as a movie script writer of wealth, but not substance, who is looking for a way to create something of substance, if that is accepting the author’s search for authenticity as his personal quest for meaning in life. That the film is peopled with dead characters has this observer wondering if Allen really hopes that there is life after death.
Meeting the great artists in Allen’s film made me nostalgic. Not for a particulaly rich literary period in history, but for my own history. I flashed back to simpler times when winning a part in the senior play or creating and directing a show in the high school auditorium were great achievements.
In his mid-seventies, my husband told me that he tended to cry more and to forgive more. I now know what he meant. I wonder if Woody Allen, now in old age, cries more or forgives more. Doing so, takes the sting out of not having a belief system with which to face death.