Great Movie Scenes #009: Midnight in Paris (2010)

Around this time last year I took a week’s vacation to the city of Paris. It was an incredible experience and it is one that has not been matched since. (Well I guess getting a career in Los Angeles comes pretty damn close.) Seeing the sights such as the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and the Seine River are things that will never leave my brain. Why did I want to go across the Atlantic though? I mean in general it is an experience but there had to have been some catalyst to make me wanna drop everything and go to the ‘City of Lights’.

Enter Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

Wood Allen decided to start his love letter to the city with a three and a half minute montage. He wants to showcase the beauty that is Paris by giving us what feels like every possible angle of the city. Whether it is cityscapes, a busy intersection, or even a random alley; Allen somehow shows that every nook has some sort of beauty. There are parts of the city I’m sure a professional traveler would never think would have any merit to it. And yet even a random set of steps lets us wonder, ‘What goes behind the frame?’. All of it is layered by a jazz piece by the great Sidney Bechet. Titled ‘Si Tu Vois Ma Mere’, the song is not only catchy but practically becomes the theme for the entire city. It could be perfect for today’s city or in the 1920s which the film constantly goes back to throughout.

Finally, there is a coda at the very end where the characters played by Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams discuss the city itself. For the most part it practically states why Woody Allen loves Paris through Wilson’s character. He isn’t wrong in that Paris is still just as gorgeous in the rain (and you do see some of that in the montage itself). This entire opening, which basically takes all but four minutes, struck me like nothing else before. I watched this movie at least three times 2 years ago and found so many things I wanted to experience that Owen Wilson does. Okay, maybe not so much travel through time but to just see what Paris was all about. I bite the bullet and got tickets to stay for the week and as I said before: I’ll never forget it.

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