Monday, 17 October 2011


For some peculiar reason, my home city and one of my favourite directors just don’t seem to mix. Woody Allen came to London a few years back and made two movies. The first -- ‘Match Point’ -- ought to have been called ‘Match Pointless’; it was perfectly watchable until you reached the end, and then you sat their scratching your head and wondering why you’d bothered in the first place, what Americans call a ‘long run for a short slide.’ And his second effort -- ‘Scoop’ -- was so plain bad that I’m mentioning it here for the first and the last time.

Then he departed for Spain and came up with a big improvement, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona,’ which I’ve already discussed earlier on in this blog (Sketches of Spain, 19 February, 2009). And now he’s cast his eye across Paris, and come up with his best movie in years. I’m not going to do a spoiler by telling you what Midnight in Paris is about … if you’ve not the first clue, then go to your local movie house and find out at first hand. But suffice to say that what happens to Owen Wilson in the film is my -- and most likely every creative person’s -- most heartfelt and unattainable secret dream. ‘Midnight’ is a delight from start to finish, and Allen’s most charming movie since ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo.’

And it dovetails neatly with my own recent experiences. Louise and I hadn’t been to Paris in years, and so last month we decided to spend three days there, just to reacquaint ourselves with the old girl. We rented someone’s tiny fourth-floor pied á terre, just two minutes walk from the Place de la Contrescarpe (top left) at the very heart of the Latin Quarter. There was a plaque for Hemingway on a house nearby, and about fifty yards further down from that another plaque for James Joyce. If you’re a writer, that’s the kind of thing that makes your jaw drop open. And we spent a glorious time there, touring the sites during the day and eating at a sidewalk table every evening. I just thought I’d share some photos with you.

No comments: