Spaniard Luis Buñuel collaborated with Salvador Dali in the 1920s making one of my all-time favorite films, “Un Chien Andalou.” Teen boys will love the eyeball scene in which an apparent human eyeball is slit with a straight-edge razor.
Both Buñuel and Dali show up again in one of my new favorite films: Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” this time as themselves. This is perhaps the best film of it’s type since “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.” They show up in the clubs and salons drinking with Earnest Hemmingway, F Scott & Zelda, Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Joséphine Baker, T.S. Elliot, Gertrude Stein and many of the names you’ve read about in art/literature history classes – about Paris in the 20s.
Owen Wilson is perfect as a Hollywood writer on holiday in Paris with his soon-to-be and her parents. Like Alice through the Looking Glass, Wilson somehow steps through time and finds himself – not in modern Paris but Paris in The Golden Age, 1920s – 30s. A Grand-automobile stops to pick him up after a night of drinking and motors him to a club where he meets those great artists and writers.
Adrian Brody kills as Dali and Marian Cotillard is beautifully magnetic and believable as Adriana, Picasso’s lover. The gangs all here: Gertrude Stein (No one but Kathy Bates could have been cast for the role of Gertrude Stein,) Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, Cole Porter, Matisse, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, TS Elliot, Gauguin, Man Ray, Degas on and on. Olivier Rabourdin as Paul Gauguin and Corey Stoll as Ernest Hemingway bring a sense of vintage-style and richness to the film. What in the hell does that mean?
The night scenes are also rich and luscious like the afore-mentioned, “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”
Some of the daylight clips seem to be washed-out. Can’t imagine the woodster effing-up. Maybe he had a reason. The only other negative thing about this movie is that it’s too short – 100 minutes.
Here’s a YouTube of THE SCENE from Un Chien Andalou – The original “shock” movie.