I saw the Woody Allen movie Midnight in Paris a couple of days ago. I’m not really the biggest Woody Allen fan, I’ve only seen a handful of his movies and I tend not to like any of the characters in it. The only movie I can ever say I liked (until I saw this one) was Small Time Crooks. and honestly, I don’t really like the original characters in this movie either. I finally saw it on the recommendation of two people which finally tipped over my resistance. Mind you if I hadn’t had any interest no recommendation would have swayed me.
Now, while I type this remember that just a couple days before seeing this movie I had finished the book Talent is Overrated…
The movie is listed as a romantic comedy. Bullshit. There’s romance, there’s comedy but the two aren’t really related to each other. In the movie, Owen Wilson is enamored with the idea of Paris in the 1920’s. He gets a chance to somehow time-travel back and meet all the artists he so admires.
Everyone has time periods they are in love with and wish they could have lived in. The “I was born too late” speech. As for me, I have always said “I was born too soon.” I think of all the things I’m going to miss out on after I’m gone. Now, I’d love to visit Seattle circa 1989, but not to live in from then forward.
But my post is really about the visits Wilson made to the 1920’s. It’s what made me like the movie. Can you imagine sitting in front of Hemingway after being introduced by F. Scott Fitzgerald? To have Salvador Dali tell you about an idea he had while you sit next to Man Ray? It’s, I’m sure, the idea that made people like this movie. A whimsical fantasy.
The thing is, and this is touched upon in the movie, however great these artists might have thought they were, they don’t get to see themselves through the filter of time. They were just living their lives. And however much they enjoyed it, surely they weren’t in awe of each other the way we are in awe of them. They were contemporaries, equals.
So for tonight I’m going to dream of a future where myself and my contemporaries will have lived in an enviable moment in time. And others remember this time period and think of me, the amazing science fiction writer, and how amazing it must have been that I was friends with R the great poet and her husband the artist. That I went to university with T., the great musician. That I directed the first music video for my friend’s band. And that my oldest friend, L., the best latin american writer/director/actress/girl you have too many ambitions I can’t keep up with.
…and they’ll also remember my humbleness and modesty.