Zombies, Vampires, And Dazzling Souls In Midnight In Paris

It’s midnight and all the ghosts of the (over-)satiated partakers of a moveable feast haunt the streets of Paris. A romantic roams the rainy corridors in search of a séance. Unhappily stuck in a rigid engagement with a consumerist zombie and a vampire as a soon-to-be father-in-law, Gil seeks to parley with spirits and channel the atmosphere of Paris in the ‘20s.  He finds himself enamored with Fitzgerald (F and Z), Hemingway, Stein, Eliot, Barnes, Picasso, Dali, Buñuel, etc., which, in the film, is chalked up to his romanticization of the time period and deep nostalgia for an age in which his life would make sense, be meaningful. But perhaps this reading of the film is a bit too easy.

Of course in some ways the film is about accepting the “modern” condition and giving up romantic notions of eras past. Isn’t that indicative though of something larger than waking from a children’s fairy tale? That waking implies a shaking off of the paralysis of slumber, a compulsion to act, to exert “free will,” to make choices. And what exactly is the nature of the fairy tale of the moveable feast? Is it not only a petty bourgeois fantasy, but also a place in which every figure’s choice to pursue the path of art is facilitated by society and nearly always successful? I would posit that the throwing off of romanticization is only a secondary effect of the fundamental moment of the film, which is the chance.

Midnight in Paris revolves around this chance, the opportunity presented to a person to exercise free will in the only true sense of the term, to become something other than the self that they have crystallized (read: rigidified, or petrified) into. Gil has been captured, stratified, subjugated, and written over. His life has become so rigid, so habitual, predictable, and systematized that he is only really living in the technical (and organic) sense of the word. Gil’s world and actions are dictated to him. He must delight in 18,000 euro lawn chairs; he must sip his wine and disdain the fruity, rather than smoky, flavor playing across his palate; he must know and care deeply about the mistresses of Rodin and the underappreciated ways that Monet serves as progenitor to abstract expressionism; he must dress, dine, shop, converse, dance, repeat ad inf. And none of these actions are truly chosen. He doesn’t freely will himself to fall into these habits. They overcode him, are prescribed to him, he is subjugated by them, they are his dictators. It is possible that at some distant point in the past he has exercised free will once here or twice there, when the chance presented itself to him to escape, to take a line of flight, but that’s it.

As Sartre spent a lifetime explaining, the chance is terrifying. The affirmation of free will and the subsequent necessity to act (rather than simply react) is a near unbearable pressure and can create a profound sense of dread. It is difficult to take the chance, and this is precisely why the artists of the 1920’s are so romanticized in Gil’s imagination. Each of them successfully takes the chance, follows a line of flight and escapes from the daily routines and habits of a zombified life. Each of them chooses to make art and does so successfully (for one of the scariest possibilities is leaving behind a rigid shell of a life only to have another one grow on your back and pin you down once more, and possibly more firmly than before). Each of these artists forgoes the prescriptions and stratifications of their time, sacrifices habit and cliché, and begins to truly act rather than simply react to the things the world throws their way.

In the end, Gil makes a freely willed choice to live art. Or, in other words, to follow lines of flight, initiate becoming after becoming, pass from rigid shell to rigid shell (never becoming too attached or pinned down), bringing a force of deterritorialization to every reterritorialization that ensues. Gil chooses to become-painter, become-writer, become-romantic, become-foreign, become-modern, become-woman, become-child, become-animal, become-molecular, become-intense. In short, instead of wedding the single and rigid life presented to himself in the form of a zombie wife and kids in Malibu with a tea-sucking vampire of a father-in-law, Gil chooses plural lives, many of them, all of different shapes, sizes, sorts, speeds and varieties, all with different prescriptions, paths, feelings and affects, thoughts and opinions. Gil will remain vitally alive, on his toes, becoming a woman when he takes Djuna Barnes’ hand to dance, becoming a child when he hears Cole Porter’s voice on vinyl, becoming an artist when he takes up his pen, and becoming an intense and sensual lover when he beds Parisian men and women. In a way, Gil becomes Baudelaire’s dazzling soul.

And this theme is in no way confined to Midnight in Paris. The chance is a common element of Woody Allen’s oeuvre. A large swath of his films might be considered different repetitions of the chance presenting itself (and subsequently a person either exercising free will and following a line of flight or hitting the snooze button and returning to a “dogmatic slumber”). The chance presents itself (rather explicitly) and free will is affirmed in Anything Else, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Cassandra’s Dream, Whatever Works, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Bullets over Broadway, and Shadows and Fog; it is to large extents denied in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Match Point, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and Crimes and Misdemeanors. And while the chance may not figure prominently into other Allen films, the consequences of letting oneself slip into a stratified life, of giving oneself over to habitual bondage, is a near constant figure in his works. All of this should come as no surprise since Allen draws so heavily on the post-theistic and self-proclaimed existentialist works of Ingmar Bergman, but for me, Allen has always stood alone in his probings of existentialist dread and free will. These themes give themselves over to tragedy quite well, but to work through some of the deepest and most painful thoughts of the human condition in comedy is, for me, always a grander task. TC mark


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  • Psjafk

    I have to say that I don’t really think this is great analysis. It reads a lot like Michael Sheen’s character in this film sounds. Unless of course it is meant to be a humorous example of an excessive, strained attempt to break down a film/text. I am terrible at spotting that kind of sardonic tone so apologies in advance if that’s the case. Otherwise I think there’s no need to frustrate a simple message by a needless appeal to Sartre and his ‘existentialist’ system. Woody’s character is trying to become a writer – he retreats into the fantasy world of the past (because that brings comfort, it allows a struggling writer to look back to those who did succeed, those he looks up to, for a strength and support he isn’t getting in the present) – he realises however that he can’t remain in the 1920s because the fantasy is a means of avoiding the frightening present and unrealised possibilities it presents – the condition of being a good writer at all (taking the eternal problems of human existence and re-interpreting them in the context of the present) – this is indeed about making a simple (no need for existentialist jargon) choice about how he wants to live – ultimately he decides to stay in Paris and commit to writing. To me this reflects a positive turn in Woody’s thinking because it shows his commitment to living as opposed to the pessimism which marred a lot of his recent films like ‘you will meet a tall dark stranger’ which was a disaster. I also feel that his fiance and her parents are too much minor characters to really support your interpretation of them forcing him into rigidity. As well as this the addition of an existentialist understanding of the self is unwarranted, there’s no way to verify that it is a belief Woody holds and it isn’t properly supported by the actual occurrences of the film. At least that is in my opinion.

    • Alex Monea

      I have to say I agree that the simpler message you are talking about is there, but I also have to say that I think there is evidence that this is a lifestyle that is too rigidly defined for the main character to thrive in. I also think that it isn’t really a stretch to say that Woody Allen is interested in existentialist themes because they are worked into a large number of his films. And as for the parents, I don’t quite think that they are responsible for forcing him into a certain style, but instead serve as examples of a couple forced into a very rigid, defined, and reactive style of living. The forces or power structures that push Gil into that sort of life are numerous, and if the blame were to be put anywhere it might better be laid on discourse and institutions. While I do appreciate the simpler, more ‘common sensical’ interpretations of a film, I also think that you are unnecessarily limiting yourself if you don’t allow for the spinning out of threads of the film into new structures. I might actually say that if you choose that approach to interpretation, you yourself are falling prey to the rigidity and stratification that Gil eventually flees from, that you are simply reacting to the narrative that is dictated to you, rather than really acting and creating something new.

      • Psjafk

        That’s fair, I don’t think your thoughts on this matter lack any logical progression, I just think they have no concrete grounding in the film itself. Therefore I see no reason to propose them. Of course that could be rooted in a fundamental difference between how we each view the world. You can find some evidence in the film (you do point to specific examples in the piece) but none of it could possibly amount for me to an actual compelling case because it is so scarce. So he has to look at expensive furniture, so he’s moving to Malibu, so he and his fiance differ at times –  this doesn’t for me provide the ground for suggesting that Woody is trying to tell us that his main character is in danger of becoming rigidly defined and needs to embrace an existential disbelief in essence so as to become everything and anything – it seems to me far more likely that it could just be the fear of commitment to a particular kind of life, something that afflicts all of us, and the need to reflect and then make a decision as to whether it is the way to go or not. I’m more inclined to this because Woody often specifically states in his films his own aversion to intellectualism – this means to me that there is no way that this existentialist thread is intentional, which leads me to believe that it is an interesting line of thought, but not one revealing any insight into the film itself. Allen is interested in existence, life, like everyone else but it is a serious stretch to say that there is a conscious exploration of  existentialist philosophy in this or any of his films. Again I think there is a difference in how we view the world – perhaps that is the source of my inability to ‘get’ your article. For example the last lines of your comment that I might be ‘simply reacting to the narrative that is dictated to you, rather than acting and creating something new’ sounds like nonsense to me. I should add layers of meaning to a piece of work that aren’t actually present in it? I should postulate numerous theories about the meaning of a piece for the sake of ‘spinning out threads’ even if those threads have no grounding in the piece itself? If this is a philosophical analysis of the piece (and I’m not saying it is, it reads more like literary theory, but I naturally think from that background) then it’s object should be elucidation, to reveal the meaning of the piece and explore the consequences that meaning might have for us – now there certainly is a lot of this in what you write but it is far too free, there is nothing in the way of solid argument. You see this is where we must differ, perhaps you have the right to extend ‘threads’ as far as you like, even to the extent that they leave behind the film itself altogether and become more a discussion of recurrent themes in the existentialist account of the self – and perhaps I should stop treating the piece within the context of strict philosophy and let you do that! 

      • Alex Monea

        Okay, so that does make quite a bit more sense. I do have some things I think still need addressed though.

        Of course we have opposite viewpoints on literary criticism. I don’t think such a thing like Truth exists in the same way that you do or that a particular and concrete meaning behind the text can be revealed by any amount of sleuthing or parsing. In fact, I think that to impose a single and ultimate meaning on the text is to do violence to that text. Also, I find that spinning out a thread and offering a new way to look at a piece is the most elucidating way to write criticism. For me the piece is fundamentally a multiplicity. It has an innumerable amount of interpretations all of which coexist, all of which have equal claim to validity. Certain arguments might be more or less convincing, more or less useful, but as long as they have some textual support, they can’t be invalid. Now, for the textual support, I think I have way more than you are acknowledging. I’d like to speak of two things, intellectualism and stratified/rigid life.

        You seem to offer the notion that Woody Allen is anti-intellectual without much support, and you don’t seem to differentiate between being anti-intellectual and being anti-intellectualism. For me, Allen is anti snobbery, anti bourgeois, etc. It is the intellectual culture that he seems to have such a problem with, it is the “ism” in intellectualism that gives him trouble. He is, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, well read when it comes to existentialism (both via specifically existentialist films, like Bergman’s, which he claims are his number one influence and also parodies and steals from throughout his oeuvre, as well as more traditional existentialist philosopher). His snag comes because he didn’t ever gain access to the intellectual sphere, or not immediately, seeing as he started working at 15 and never stopped. I think that rather than being a non-intellectual, he is somewhere in between, pulled by both sides. He would like to identify with the everyday people he encounters, but they are too uninterested in art and philosophy, and he would like to identify with intellectuals, but they are too into the “ism,” too snooty, full of themselves, and often full of shit. I mean, Allen specifically references Buñuel’s Exterminating Angel, which he also did in 2004’s Anything Else, and I am sure elsewhere, which deals with a similar theme to what I am talking about (the paralysis of stratified life) and he has made multiple films that are versions of Bergman. He has referenced and talked about Sartre directly, again in Anything Else, as well as Freud, McLuhan, Nietzsche, etc. To say that he has no experience with theory and particularly with existentialism is just a bit ignorant of his history of work and his personal history.

        As for the stratified life being paralyzing, I think that you might be more in agreement here with me than you think. When you note that he is hesitant about his wedding, afraid of commitment, etc. (albeit, before you brush that off as “normal”) you are acknowledging exactly the textual evidence and the point that I am talking about. Think about it. What is there to fear in commitment? Routine. You have committed yourself to doing a set amount of things in a certain way, as negotiated by you and your partner, generally for the rest of your life. Of course this is a negotiation, but it is also a contract that is limiting. You generally agree to living in the same quarters permanently, to only having sex with that other person, to earning wages to contribute to the family or performing some other sort of labor (such as child-rearing), to feeling a certain way (loving) forever, to living in a certain area, scheduling your days a certain way, etc. etc. Whereas, if you leave this and move to the city to throw the dice, you can’t quite have a program, a prescription, a habitually way of living because you have to take what life throws your way each day, you have to move through new spaces both physically (different streets, areas, towns, buildings, etc.) and existentially (different passions, different loves, different philosophies and what-it-all-means, different careers, even different subjectivities). I don’t think that this is a very strange argument to make and I think it has tons of support to claim that Gil is scared and is on the verge to committing himself to a very, very particular kind of life that he is not all that fond of. He mocks almost everything that his fiancé is interested in, disdains her enthusiasm for the pseudo-intellectual (which is usually more what Allen rails against than the real intellectual, which for him is the modest intellectual) and how easily she is sucked in by his charade, and is constantly looking to escape. He wants to leave Hollywood and get across the world to Paris. He wants to get out and stretch his legs, walk around, and take it all in rather than sit in one place (the hotel) and do the same thing (eat, drink, shop, dance). He is fleeing the life he is in. He literally runs off in the middle of the night to an entirely different world, constantly needing another escape. And all of the other successful people that have escaped the world he also flees from (i.e. all of the artists in the film that haven’t settled down into a rigid life) do so, in one way or another, through art. Art is always an escape for him, a line of flight, first, because it lets him escape modernity into more romantic times, and second, because it lets him find new ways of living, lets him always move into new areas and find new ways of moving in the world, etc. etc.

        So, I guess my rather extended point is that, yes, you have every right to have an opposite opinion from me on the purpose of literary theory/criticism and philosophy. While I think your strand is too violent and reductive (because assigning a text one Truth, and elucidating the proper meaning behind it effectively murders all other interpretations), I can accept that you probably find my end of things to be looser, to be a stretch, to be too poetic and wishy-washy (which seems to be inevitable without Truth with a capital T), etc. My big problem though is that you are so unwilling to acknowledge that there is any textual evidence for this interpretation, when I see it all over the film. I really do think that giving up childhood romanticizations and finally becoming a decent writer are threads in the film, I can’t bring myself to believe that that is a more useful, interesting, or even accurate interpretation than this. If it were, then I suppose the movie, to me, wouldn’t much be worth talking about.

      • http://ethecofem.com Bema

        Holy shit what is this world coming to where serious literary analysis is taking place on Though Catalog?

      • Psjafk

        I guessed as much with regards to ‘truth’ I often find that some people seem to actually believe that a section of continental philosophers working in the late twentieth century (Derrida, Foucault, Gadamer) have had the final word on this issue of the nature of truth. Despite the fact that the history of philosophy is a perfect example of the continuous struggle to understand – despite the existence of over two thousand years of previous work in the subject which might offer excellent resistance to the ridiculous idea that there is no objective anchorage to ground our beliefs. That issue, of ‘truth’ is still on-going. Now there may not be ‘truth’ in the sense of Platonic metaphysics, a concrete to-itself fully rounded ‘thing’, but that does not mean at all that we’ve given up on demanding some sort of objective grounding. You state that a piece of work has an ‘innumerable’ amount of interpretations which all have equal claim to validity. So what’s the point in reading your analysis at all then? Why bother? You say you think your method ‘elucidates’ elucidates what?! You deny that there is anything  concrete in the film whatsoever that could be elucidated/revealed/shown! You’ve just stated that all interpretations are equally valid and therefore there is no real reason that I should read your analysis over one that claims Gil is an alien seeking escape from the Galactic Empire. Why the hell would anyone bother writing anything at all if we knew that all it was was a jumble of words with every possible meaning and therefore no meaning?Why even bother looking for evidence to support your analysis if every interpretation is equally valid? Do you really think that kind of lazy relativism is tenable, are all ethical systems as good as each other? What about political systems? I have no problem whatsoever stating that I do actually (however quaint it may seem) believe in objectivity. I think it’s very difficult to provide a full epistemological system which explains how it is possible for us to make objective claims, but that doesn’t make me give up on the whole notion to lapse into the flagrant absurdity of all interpretations are equally valid. Also ‘more or less useful’ useful for what exactly? Not understanding the film because if there’s no central message to grasp then . . . 
           Of course you could say (sensibly) that an interpretation can be useful when it casts some light on the film itself, but if there’s nothing to cast light on why discuss the film at all? All we’d be doing is flipping through innumerable, equally valid (and therefore meaningless) interpretations, surely somewhere there’s an actual film beneath?

        Woody is anti-intellectual in the sense that he reviles academics, he likes to stick to the actual concrete phenomena themselves instead of getting caught up in a discussion of various interpretations of those phenomena. You have studied film far more than I have, that is obvious (as obvious as your limited study of philosophy is my limited study of film) I’ve seen most of Woody’s films (none of Bergman’s, should really fix that, can I stop mid assault to ask for recommendations?) and I don’t deny there are common existentialist motifs, like the struggle over whether or not God exists and how to live if there is no God, how to deal with death etc, but these problems are not the property of existentialism. By existentialism I read the actual philosophical system expounded by Sartre that makes specific claims about the world – I find it difficult to believe that Woody actually adheres to an explores those claims which are essential to your interpretation, namely the existential account of the nature of the self. 

        ‘What is there to fear in commitment?” – that you’ve committed to a life you’re actually not willing to live. For example it takes years to set up a real career in philosophy, if I’m not really dedicated to the study of philosophy a commitment to such would be a waste of time. This leads to a fear of commitment on my part. But if I don’t commit I’ll never do anything of significance with my life! Eventually we commit, to relationships, to children, to philosophy, to God, to life. Instead of running around trying to be everything and thus ending up being nothing – I have my issues with the existentialist account of the self. Just because Gil is afraid to commit to his fiance and Malibu doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in commitment to anything. 

        You see I think there is plenty of evidence (like you’ve said) to support the idea that Gil is A) unhappy in his current situation and B) turns to the past to avoid making a decision on the present and of course C) that eventually he chooses to stay in Paris and try his hand at writing. What I don’t see is how you can go from this to Gil is being forced into a rigid, dead interpretation of his boundless self by ‘fiance/parents/institutions/discourse’ and ultimately chooses to reject this negative conception of the self to become anything and everything, he makes a crucial existential decision to reject the life society has laid out for him and thus become ‘Baudelaire’s dazzling soul’ – that for me is adding layers of meaning that just aren’t there. 

        I think you’ve made very intelligent points, you clearly are fond of existentialism, but all I see is the film itself, and then this excessive, strained interpretation you’ve loaded unnecessarily on top of it. There’s nothing wrong if that is all there is to the film. Sometimes film is simple. I think this film was more about Woody than anything else. I don’t think had anything to do with existentialism. I’m okay with that. The film was charming, I don’t feel the need to make it anything more than it is. I think you’re work would be better (if I dare be so bold) if it was more strict in its analysis. 

      • Alex Monea

        Okay, so this is the last reply I think I can muster. This is getting rather tedious and at points I think you might be willfully misinterpreting me, or perhaps our thought styles are so different that real communication might be impossible for us.

        I think that you are mostly misinterpreting the notion of a lack of Truth with a capital T, which to me actually does betray a lack of knowledge of philosophy, particularly 20th and 21st century philosophy. You do not lose objectivity or realism if you embrace multiplicity and paradox, and here you ought to know that the poststructuralist/continental philosopher I value more than Derrida, Foucault, or Gadamer (who makes a weird third) is Gilles Deleuze. For Deleuze there is such a thing as truth, and this can be an object oh philosophy, following the long tradition that you seem to read a whole lot of transcendence into, but it is the process of the pursuit of truth that is the truth, rather than some telos. The labyrinth as a whole is the truth, not merely some center point.

        As for the point that if there are innumerable interpretations, why bother? Well, like I said, each interpretation reveals a bit more about the film. You come to a more complex, more whole, and more realistic understanding of the film each time you find another way of looking at it. It elucidates a dimension of the film, a piece of its potential.

        And the interpretations are not based on nothing. There are concrete things in the film that can be used to elucidate/reveal/show and interpretation, and the more concrete things that can be used in support of a position, the more likely or convincing that argument may turn out to be. The idea that Gil is an alien might be true, I certainly cannot disprove it, but neither is there any textual evidence whatsoever to support that interpretation. To say, on the other hand, that Gil is unhappy in a rigid life and ultimately makes a choice to go free, and to act rather than react, has quite a bit more support in the text, as I outlined in my last post.

        So, while there isn’t anything as easy as a single essence, form, or meaning that unites the film into a homogeneous whole, there are meanings plural, which remain totally heterogeneous, potentially in contradiction with one another, and yet they nevertheless coalesce into a singular multiplicity. To engage in this sort of analysis is not simply flipping through different interpretations meaninglessly and endlessly. All of these interpretations must be based on the concrete particulars of the actual film and each of them constitute an aspect of the film, that, once known, provides a deeper understanding of it.

        As for woody as an anti-intellectual again, I think you are just mistaken. While he might deal with existentialism superficially or refrain from working in all of the particulars of Sartre (who is not the only existentialist philosopher, albeit he is the only self-professed one), fear of the ultimate freedom, the need to act, and the subsequent responsibility of action is a strictly existentialist theme. Whether or not he is aware of and consciously deals with existentialism is not a debatable point, but I could see an argument about how much or little he goes into those themes, how well he treats them, etc. unfolding. And, if you are interested in Bergman you might watch Through A Glass Darkly, Winter Light, the Seventh Seal, or Wild Strawberries. Also, Bergman is a self-professed existentialist and here is what wikipedia has Allen saying in the first paragraph on Bergman: Described by Woody Allen as “probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera”, he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and influential film directors of all time.[3]

        As for commitment, I think that there is some nuance available between commitment and never committing. Like I said originally, Gil is going to become certain things at certain moments, he will have to keep moving because there are other traps of rigidity and stratification that he can fall into (he could marry someone else, he could enter a single career, etc. etc.). So there can be momentary or limited commitments which are inevitable and useful each time he becomes something new, but there cannot be lifelong/unending commitments like marriage or traditional career.

        Again, my interpretation is somewhat of a stretch from the one you prefer, and it complicates things, for you unnecessarily, for me necessarily and joyously. For me, again, your interpretation is reductive and does some serious violence to the film. You would instead turn it into a quaint, simple narrative that gives little real thought to art or life, and thus is quite forgettable and itself unnecessary. I mean, if that is the “ultimate meaning” of the film, why bother? I think mostly I am attempting to recuperate some value from a mediocre (while fun and charming) Woody Allen film, while you’ve consigned it to death (as unfortunately I feel you might do to quite a few more texts that you come across if you’re not careful).

      • Psjafk

        Right well I’ll finish off then myself. If there is a film itself then it is case that certain interpretations are either useful in shedding light on the film (whether it is a thing in the sense of a concrete whole, or whether it is a more multitudinous collection with a centre, or possibly even centreless, but this would depend on the work in question, a work is not necessarily without centre) then it follows that it is not the case that all interpretations are equally valid. Some lack fundamental insight into the given piece. My opinion is that your interpretation is not grounded in the film. I don’t think it is useful in illuminating the film. I think it is liberal with its conclusions to the extent of leaving the film itself behind. I don’t think it’s your job to try and ‘recuperate’ anything from the film, it is what it is and as for consigning it to death – I don’t feel I’ve done that, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would go see it again, I just don’t feel like fabricating an excess of interpretation where it’s not needed. An interpretation is valid if it reveals something about the film – I don’t believe your interpretation does – therefore I believe your interpretation is invalid. 

        I don’t find a great deal of cohesion to your statements about ‘truth’ and am uncertain as to whether or not there actually is a coherent account of truth which underlies what you offer. It is true a film can have a number of different plots, deal with several different themes, separate characters etc – this is nothing new. What matters is that these things are concretely present in the text and that analysis serves the purpose of revealing and exploring them.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to take from your referencing Deleuze, all I learn is that Deleuze believes in ‘truth’ with no explanation as to what that entails. I can’t reconcile what you say in one section with what you say in the next. ‘An innumerable amount of equally valid interpretations’ is not reconcilable to an account which affirms that analysis should centre around ‘concrete particulars’ in the text itself. If there is ‘truth’ to a piece than certain interpretations will be more valid than others as they will come closer to that ‘truth’. 

        Thank you for the recommendations as to Bergman, I’ll look into them presently. 

      • Pad Berson

        think these two want htmlgiant, lots of rambly bigwording there 24/7

  • Anonymous


  • http://www.twovisionaries.com Visionary

    Fantastic read.

  • Mr Shankly

    Gonna be honest here, I did not follow any of that. I’m sure that reflects more poorly on my intellect than your writing, though.

  • Charles Reinhardt

    Great analysis. 

  • Anonymous


  • http://profiles.google.com/petertiso Peter Tiso

    I took something slightly different away from the film, though I do agree with your analysis.  I saw Gil acting passively in both his unwanted present and in his romanticized past: he simply got in the car, was invited to (incredibly well done, nostalgia-inducing) parties, and tagged along with the greats.  His only contributions were to exploit his knowledge of their futures and to hand them back their own great ideas.  He of course finally did exert himself in the end, although I don’t know if that was only because he was given no comfortable method of retreat and avoidance. 

    My take-away was that your passive nature will follow you to any era, however enthralling, and that the present can be romanticized just as effectively if you give it a shot.

  • http://profiles.google.com/petertiso Peter Tiso

    I took something slightly different away from the film, though I do agree with your analysis.  I saw Gil acting passively in both his unwanted present and in his romanticized past: he simply got in the car, was invited to (incredibly well done, nostalgia-inducing) parties, and tagged along with the greats.  His only contributions were to exploit his knowledge of their futures and to hand them back their own great ideas.  He of course finally did exert himself in the end, although I don’t know if that was only because he was given no comfortable method of retreat and avoidance. 

    My take-away was that your passive nature will follow you to any era, however enthralling, and that the present can be romanticized just as effectively if you give it a shot.

  • Simulacrum

    Whoa. Alex Monea and PSJAFK. Respect.

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