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My Best of 2011: Midnight in Paris & “Diet” Woody Allen…

It’s that time of the year. To celebrate 2011, and the countdown to 2012, I’m going to count down my own twelve favourite films of the year, one a day until New Year’s Eve. I’m also going to talk a bit about how or why I chose them, and perhaps what makes this list “my” best of 2011, rather than any list claiming to be objective.

Midnight in Paris is number four. Check out my original review here.

I’ve been mulling this over since I had the chance to see the film back in August. I think that Midnight in Paris might (just might) be my own favourite Woody Allen film, without any of the usual qualifiers attached. It is my favourite Woody Allen film of the decade, and my favourite one set in Europe, but I’m growing increasingly comfortable just stating that as an absolute. I, personally, prefer it to Manhattan or Annie Hall. I can’t explain it. As I noted in my piece covering True Grit as my eighth favourite film of year, perhaps it’s just that my internal “quality Woody Allen film detector” is broken. After all, I liked – rather than lovedVicky Christina Barcelona, so what do I know of Woody Allen?

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Non-Review Review: Midnight in Paris

A special thanks to the IFI for sneaking us into an advance screening. If you’re interested, they’re hosting a season of actors-turned-directors through October, with Woody Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo among those screening.

“You inhabit two worlds. So far, I see nothing strange.”

“Of course, you’re a Surrealist.”

– Man Ray takes Gil’s time-traveling confession quite well

Woody Allen has, to a greater or lesser extent, been heavily influenced by Europe in the past few years. Ignoring Whatever Works, he’s clearly been inspired by the great European cities. Vicky Christina Barcelona is perhaps the most obvious, if only because it was perhaps the most critically and commercially successful, but London has also produced works as diverse as Match Point and You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. Still, if you’re going to work with the major European cities, it seems pointless to avoid Paris, the city of lights and lovers, home to generations of artists for decades upon decades, it has earned a reputation as one of the most powerful and inspiring locations on the face of the planet. Allen does his subject proud, producing what is certainly his best film since his trip to Barcelona, and one I’d rank considerably higher in my own estimation. It seems that even the cynical Woody Allen can become something of a romantic in Paris.

The importance of being Ernest...

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