This would really be naïve of me on writing on this topic and about this great director. But really speaking I couldn’t resist going into the churning of thoughts about some of his great movies which I was able to discover and found myself passionate about them. Of course, there was this new trailer of his movie which picked me up to write this piece. So, this man who makes you fall in love with the stories of his films, its characters their ingenious romance and literally with everything around it be it music, art, history. These all are shown to be composite of a city which is a complete package put on celluloid. My journey with this man started from Barcelona, then it went on to Manhattan, Paris of 20s and now it is approaching Rome.
This man not only has cities in his movie titles but begins his film with them as if cities are vital character in his films. That is so true! Like in Manhattan which opens with a man in background writing a book and begins describing New York City from different vantage points. He describes same city with a sense of romance, corniness and also anger at the same time. Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” plays over stunningly photographed black & white images of New York. This opening scene I think is the representative of the film, rather representative of film’s characters. Music playing in the background is phenomenal in all three movies. What you see is a beautiful postcard style show of cities with classic background music just adding to the picturesque and one is sure to fall for these cities.
In the words of famous film critic Roger Ebert “The thing about a Woody Allen film is, whatever else happens, the characters are intriguing to hear. They tend to be smart, witty, not above epigrams.” These people are artists, history enthusiasts, passionate, and staunch on their opinions about art, life and people they like. In the two of the movies the protagonists are American people who visit Paris and Barcelona. In Midnight in Paris Gil(Owen Wilson) is a Hollywood writer who is confused about the book he is writing meets literary geniuses from the 20s. This was really an incredible idea. The legends like Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Picasso, and Tom Elliot brought to life. Film ends with an interesting message in the end. The fantasy created by Woody in the movie is really out of the box and wonderfully written. Vicky Christina Barcelona portrays two American girls on vacation to Barcelona meet two quirky strangers who are divorced and are wonderful painters. The movie gives a wonderful insight into Catalan culture including their food, architecture, music and paintings. In Manhattan, we find a different sort of American who is TV writer and dates a high school girl and is mystically confused between love for her and his friend’s mistress who has a subtle character.
This is a sure treat – a beautiful city, quirky characters, and moreover they romance each other. Romance is what makes Woody’s movies stand out. In Manhattan the characters who are mostly in their 40s, approach relationships with the same selfishness and indecisiveness of teenagers, so there’s a certain logic to one of them literally dating an actual teenager. Atypical relationship begins between two different people from different cultures in Vicky Christina Barcelona. In this movie there are people who are Midnight in Paris goes out of the world in which people of different eras fall in love. But in the end an interesting thought is found common in between them that they both believe that people living in time before them were happier than the current people which results in their separation.
When these stories fall on ear at first time, they sound weird but on screen they look and feel is distinctive. People in these movies engage themselves in long discussions on art, history, and culture. As the story goes on we are introduced to cities which are a world in themselves in each of these movies which I feel is the best part in these three movies.