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Midnight in Paris is a romantic comedy fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Set in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the shortcomings of his relationship with his materialistic fiancée and their divergent goals, which become increasingly exaggerated as he travels back in time each night at midnight. The movie explores themes of nostalgia and modernism.
Produced by Spanish group Mediapro and Allen’s Gravier Productions, the film stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux, Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody. It premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and was released in North America in May 2011. The film opened to critical acclaim and has commonly been cited as one of Allen’s best films in recent years. In 2012, the film won both the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Screenplay; and was nominated for three other Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Art Direction. It was shown on Channel 3 on Spanish television with subtitles and won a Goya Award.
Even for people who have never been to Paris, the name of the city is more than a metaphor for magic—it’s almost a synonym. Certainly there’s no better place on earth that Woody Allen could have chosen for his new romantic comedy than Paris. It is a city with a unique mythology and heritage, celebrated for the extraordinary beauty of its streets, boulevards and gardens, as well as the splendor found inside so many of the greatest museums in the world.
The resonance of its history, from major political and cultural events to the aura of its legendary restaurants and cafés, is felt everywhere. The past endures and shines brightly in Paris, which makes it well-suited for a story of a man reinvigorating his feelings and finding inspiration to reflect on his life.
Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s valentine to the City of Lights, which he considers equal to New York as the great city of the world. “Of course I’m partial to New York because I was born there and grew up there,” he says, “but if I didn’t live in New York, Paris is the place I would live.” The film is the second time Allen has filmed there, after a small bit of EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU. “I get great enjoyment out of presenting Paris to the cinema audience the way I see it,” he says. “Just as with New York, where I present it one way, and other directors present it other ways, somebody else could come and shoot Paris in a completely different way. I want to present it my way, projecting my own feelings about it.”
Allen fell in love with Paris during the shooting of WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT, his debut film as an actor and writer. Much like Gil, the protagonist of MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, he’s rueful about not staying there after the filming, as others on the film did. “It was an adventure that was too bold for me at the time,” he says. “In retrospect I could have stayed, or at the very minimum taken an apartment and divided my time—but I didn’t, and I regret that.”
Midnight in Paris
Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Owen Wilson, Nina Arianda, Audrey Fleurot, Alison Pill
Screenplay by: Woody Allen
Production Design by: Anne Seibel
Cinematography by: Darius Khondji
Film Editing by: Alisa Lepselter
Costume Design by: Sonia Grande
Set Decoration by: Hélène Dubreuil
Art Direction by: Jean-Yves Rabier
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual references and smoking.
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: May 20, 2011
Related Link: View the Full Production Notes for Midnight in Paris