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Midnight in Paris Film Anaylsis

By jen21 Nov 23, 2013 1176 Words

Midnight in Paris Analysis

The Oscar-winning film, Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen uses cinematic techniques to create a world of fantasy and reality. Throughout the film, reality and fantasy are constantly paralleled. This film succeeds because of the elements Woody Allen uses to juxtapose the main character, Gil Pender, sense of reality and fantasy. Elements such as mise en scene, costume design, the auteur theory, and the screenplay writing all work in conjunction to bring the story to life.

One of the most important elements in Midnight in Paris is mise en scene. Mise en scene helps the audience understand and piece together the story. Woody Allen opens the film with a 3 minute sequence of The City of Lights. The montage of Paris is very romantic and dreamy. It begins at sunrise and shows what the day is like in such a beautiful city and ends at sundown. The audiences sees everything The City of Lights has to offer. This montage stages the tone of the film. The jazz music playing in the background also gives this film a sense of an upbeat and happy tone. The montage make the city almost looks as if the city of Paris is too good to be true. The Paris that is depicted, is the Paris of Gil’s dreams. Mise en scene creates this reality, and helps the audience understand that Paris is the setting of the film. The element of mise en scene also creates the fantasy in Midnight in Paris. Woody Allen takes the audience to whole other world. It is very fairy tale like when Gil gets picked up in an antique car and transported to the Golden Age for the first time. The scene when Gil comes across with Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald alerts the audience that Gil is no longer in the twenty-first century. Not only does the staging of the scene help the audience piece together and come to a better understanding of the film, so does the costume and production design of the film.

As previously stated, the costume design of the film really helps create Gil’s dream of being in Paris in the 1920s come alive. Once Gil is transported to the Golden Age the audience comes to realization that Gil is no longer in the twenty-first century because of what everyone is wearing. It really takes the story to a whole other level. For example, during the day, the characters are wearing what is considered to be ‘normal’ clothes in the 2011. Inez wears jeans and shirt and Gil wears a button with khaki pants. In comparison, at midnight when Gil is in the 1920s the women are wearing hair pieces with short bobbed hair. The men wearing suits. The audience sees Can-Can dancers and hears jazz music All of the characteristics from the 1920s style is shown. Gil stands out in the fantasy of the golden age because he is dressed from the reality of the twenty-first century thats what makes the audience realize that they have been transported to a different time frame.

Another element thats works together with mise en scene and costume design is the auteur theory. The auteur theory indicates that the directors film reflects the directors creative vision making the director the author of the film. Woody Allen is a great auteur, in the film Midnight in Paris there are a lot of creative elements that resembles with other of Woody films. The opening sequence of Midnight in Paris is very similar Woody Allen’s 1979 film Manhattan. Both montages show what a day in each city is like, but it is also shows the love both main characters have for the cities. Woody Allen use of the montage in both films makes him an auteur. Manhattan is not the only film that shows Allen is an auteur, so does 1985’s The Purple Rose of Cairo. Similarly Midnight in Paris and The Purple Rose of Cairo both transport their main characters into a fantasy world brought to life by Woody Allen.

The backbone to every film and another important element in Midnight in Paris is the screenplay. Not only did Woody Allen direct the film, but he also wrote it. The film is written in point of view technique. The point of view technique allows the screenwriter to tell the story through the characters eyes. In the film, the audience got to channel Gil’s emotions and thoughts. With Allen’s decision to write in the third person narration the audience gets to be apart of the story. The audience falls in love with Paris as much Gil does. The audience sympathizes with Gil. Making the film feel so realistic. Using this technique, the audience primarily focuses on Gil’s fantasy. Allen brings to life an essence of nostalgia to the audience because of Gil’s yearning for the past. As the audience, we are transported to the fantasy with Gil. We are able to absorb the fantasy and make it our fantasy as well. Woody Allen does a great job helping the audience understand the character by letting us enter Gil’s mind. Another aspect of the screenplay writing is how we are in the fantasy of The Roaring Twenties and the reality of 2011. For example, when Gil and Inez are shopping at the thrift store they are in 2011 Paris, but surrounded by art work and records from Paris in the twenties. Throughout the film, reality and fantasy are constantly being paralleled. Another example where fantasy and reality are paralleled is when Gil comes across Adriana’s journal on a street market. He reads this journal and finds out that she dreamt of Gil buying her earrings. In the reality of the film (2011), Gil buys a pair of earrings and then when midnight hits he visits the 1920s to give Adriana the pair of earrings. Woody does it again and juxtaposes the present with the past.

Midnight in Paris, written and directed by Woody Allen, is the highest grossing film of his career. Woody takes the audience to a whole other time frame. From Paris in 2011 to The City of Lights in The Roaring Twenties. The Oscar-Winning film could not have shown the difference between reality and fantasy without using cinematic elements. Elements such as mise en scene, costume design, the auteur theory, and the screenplay writing all worked in conjunction to bring the story of a nostalgic screenwriter whose yearning for the past is brought to life when he gets in a car that transports him to the Roaring Twenties making his dream come true. Only Woody Allen could have brought a script of this much depth to the big screen and make the audience feels connected to the character of Gil Pender. Works Cited

Petrie, Dennis W., and Joseph M. Boggs. The Art of Watching Films. Eight ed. Dubuque: McGraw-Hill Companies, 2012. Print. Midnight in Paris. Dir. Woody Allen. Prod. Letty Aronson and Stephen Tennenbaum. By Woody Allen. Perf. Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams. Sony Picture Classics, 2011. DVD.

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