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Do you remember the movie Midnight in Paris?

 

The Academy Award-winning film (2011) by American filmmaker and actor Woody Allen centers around a screenwriter and budding novelist (played by actor Owen Wilson) who travels back in time each night at midnight to Paris of the 1920s.

 

There he finds himself mingling with Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso, and Ernest Hemingway.

 

The scene in the film when Owen Wilson meets Hemingway (played by Corey Stoll) takes place at a restaurant called Le Polidor. 

 

I discovered this is a real restaurant in Paris and decided I had to go there!

 

Outside Le Polidor which was originally a “crèmerie”  or dairy

 

My lunchmate (I am on my way Alison!)

 

 

Alison Browne  (www.dreameratheart.org, who did an interview with me last fall about Housesitting in France, joined me.

 

Of course with COVID, patrons were fewer than usual but we soaked in the ambience that so many before us have done…

 

 

The interior has not been changed in 100 years!

 

The restaurant is now being expanded next door and other parts are being renovated.

 

 

Iconic figures like Victor Hugo (he was fond of omelettes), Arthur Rimbaud, Andre Gide, James Joyce, Henry Miller and yes, in fact, Hemingway all frequented this charming bistro on the corner of Monsieur Le Prince in the 6th.  I couldn’t quite get over the amazement of sharing the same room with all of these ghosts but forgot about it as I tucked into lunch.

 

 

My goat cheese salad with pine nuts

 

The bistro’s traditional French cuisine also remains that of the 19th century – boeuf bourguignon is a staple on the menu.

 

Alison’s “tarte au citron”

The French Love Woody Allen

 

Coincidentally, a little while later, Alison and I were invited to an English-speaking “salon”  event at Café de la Mairie in the fashionable Marais district where the subject was the controversial career of the director of Midnight in Paris, and scores of other films, Woody Allen himself.

 

Our speaker was the knowledgeable TV film critic, Lisa Nesselson, who also writes from Paris regularly for Variety magazine and numerous others.

 

 

Film critic Lisa Nesselson

 

 

As you may be aware, Woody Allen’s reputation was tarnished in the early ’90s when he was accused of sexually molesting his 7-year-old adopted daughter from his marriage to Mia Farrow.

 

While Woody was never charged, and no one else ever came forward with similar claims, it definitely was a turning point in Woody Allen’s career.

 

The accusations were further deepened by his 1997 marriage to Farrow’s adopted daughter’s Soon-Yi, 35 years his junior, as well as his penchant for starring young women in his films. (Think Mariel Hemingway (Hemingway’s grandaughter as it turns out) in Manhattan, who at 17, was dating the 42-year-old Woody Allen character.)

 

As a result, North American distributors turned away from his movies,  along with his audience in that part of the world.

 

Not so, however, in France, as Lisa Nesselson pointed out.

 

 

An engaging discussion ensued

 

Upstairs at the corner café in le Marais

 

 

Despite everything, Woody continues to make almost a new English language film every year, enjoying successful foreign distribution largely because of the French who are enamoured with this “auteur” of the cinema.

 

Lisa gave numerous examples, such as the director’s Café Society which was chosen to open the Cannes festival in 2016.

 

Release Me In Time For the Show!

 

Lisa’s best Woody Allen story though was about herself.

 

She had gone to the festival in 2019 to screen Woody’s “A Rainy Day in New York”. 

 

However, due to a medical condition, she found herself unexpectedly in a hospital emergency room.

 

Fortunately, the issue was resolved but the doctors were not winning any races releasing her from their care.

 

That is until they heard that she had a ticket for the premiere of Woody’s new movie.

 

“They moved heaven and earth to get me out the door in time,” Lisa recalls.

 

Lisa believes that Woody Allen is still one of the most important directors of the 20th century and she challenged our views — was Woody Allen railroaded by public opinion? — and why have foreign audiences like the French not been deterred in their affection for him?

 

Is it a difference in social and moral values?  Does talent override personal life choices?

 

There was much lively conversation among us and no real consensus.

 

I only wish there had been some French-speaking participants to hear their side of things.

 

 

Owen Wilson outside le Polidor in the movie Midnight in Paris!

 

Anyway, this is just another thing that I love about Paris, getting into these interesting discussions is just part of daily life.

 

Love to hear your views and what you think?

 

Please share your comments BELOW!

 

Paris Realestate diva Adrian Leeds is the brainchild behind organizing these regular “salons”, called Meet-Up at Aprés-Midi.

 

Look up under Events on her website by clicking HERE!  (Adrian is one of my upcoming interviews on Women of Global Interest!)

 

 

Back of Owen Wilson with Corey Stole who plays Hemingway in Midnight in Paris

 

Midnight in Paris

If you are comfortable watching a Woody Allen flick and have not seen this one, make sure to find it.

 

It’s a gem. Worth watching more than once.

 

Click HERE to see the Hemingway Clip from the film.

 

 

 

Finding JOY In Every Chapter of Life  PART TWO!

TODAY!

Please Join Us!

12:30 pm EST/9:30 am Pacific/

6:30 pm Paris and Rome /5;30 pm London

(This one is FREE! So you can register here tout de suite!

 

We are making up for the interview that was cut short with Debbie on February 19th and trying again!

Thank you for your patience and bring your questions for Debbie!

She will be in TUSCANY to talk about her villa and her new book

JOY, Life Lessons From A Tuscan Villa.

Click on the link to see more about Debbie’s book and to PURCHASE!

 

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9 Comments

  1. Kelly on January 30, 2022 at 7:47 am

    I have to agree that Woody Allen is a complicated character but Midnight in Paris is one of my favorite movies. Just the opening scenes of Paris and music that goes on and on transports me to the City of Lights. Allen continues to weave scenes and music beautifully into the story as the movie progresses. And the creative story does not fall short either. Wilson’s companions in both the modern day and the past are very entertaining. I may have to rewatch this movie this afternoon. Thanks for the reminder and fun post.

    • Diana Bishop on January 31, 2022 at 11:24 am

      Hi Kelly — Well as we can see from the other comments. This is a complicated subject with so much to unpack. 1) There is the abuse accusation. One of the points made by our speaker was that there is some evidence to suggest that the adopted daughter was coached by her mother about the one-time abuse, as Mia Farrow was considered rather unstable and had a axe to grind against her former husband 2) Then there Woody marrying the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow which seems entirely inappropriate if not morally repugnant and 3) there is Woody penchant for picking young women for his movies and his relationships. Add to that Mia Farrow herself was a young bride to Frank Sinatra. Complicated. Thanks for your comment Kelly! Diana

  2. Robin Siegerman on January 30, 2022 at 7:56 am

    What interesting questions you posed! This may become a very hot comment thread!

    I am one of those who turned away from Woody Allen’s films, although I acknowledge his talent and did watch Midnight in Paris (grudgingly, only because it was about Paris), and felt conflicted about enjoying it.

    To me, Woody Allen is morally repugnant. For the same reason that I would not choose a brilliant money manager to manage my personal finances if I knew he engaged in, condoned and celebrated pedophelia (but camouflaged it as “love”) or some other morally heinous and illegal practice, I am not inclined to support Woody Allen’s work and contribute to his financial rewards for putting that material into the world.

    As an audiobook narrator, I have made a conscious choice not to narrate pornography, which is a huge money-maker with dozens of new titles available everyday euphemistically described as “Erotica” “Bully Romance”, “Mafia Romance” “Enemies to lovers”, etc. In many of those stories women are being abused, raped, beaten up for male sexual gratification, and the message is clear: women like it and crave it and deserve it. I think these are very damaging and dangerous messages to repeatedly put out into the world. It reinforces and normalizes abhorrent treatment of women. Yet, I also can’t completely fault my colleagues who narrate them. After all, If they don’t, someone else will, and they need to pay their bills and these books pay well. Just like the actors who perform in Wood Allen movies. To choose not to would be to intentionally shoot oneself in one’s career. We’ve constructed a world where making money often necessarily means compromising the principles that benefit the greater good. So I fully recognize the complexities and the grey areas in both sides of the argument.

    However, every human on earth has to accept that their actions have consequences, and we all have an audience, large or small who will be influenced and will use our words and actions as signals for permission to act similarly. Just as the former president flung open the door to horrifyingly vile and mean-spirited discourse being normalized, encouraged, accepted and now widely practiced, so too does a highly influential movie maker like Wood Allen contribute to the removal of some of the social taboos of sexually exploiting children. And personally, I simply can’t support that.

    • Diana Bishop on January 31, 2022 at 11:14 am

      Well said Robin! Diana

  3. dswministries on January 30, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    I’m with Robin. As an abuse advocate it sickens me the most to see adults grooming and molesting children and other kinds of exploitation of children. I cancelled my Netflix account when Cuties was released for the same reason: I am not giving my money to people, companies, or entertainment that victimizes children and makes it normal.

  4. Shardie Stevenson on January 30, 2022 at 2:05 pm

    I don’t condone Woody Allen’s abhorrent lifestyle but I will acknowledge that he was a sometimes brilliant producer , /director. Midnight in Paris was a classic!! he captured the vibe of Paris in the 20″s and I loved ” meeting ” those famous people along with Owen Wilson!

  5. Margaret Ann Gendreau on January 30, 2022 at 2:16 pm

    Having a background in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and having worked in the paediatric setting as an RN during my career my feelings about Woody Allen fall under the old saying of “Where’s there’s smoke there’s fire”. When it involves children, my feeling is there is always something to the story. I don’t recall ever being a big fan of Woody Allen, his style of movie has never grabbed me.

    • Diana Bishop on January 31, 2022 at 11:11 am

      I am a fan of his style but found myself confronted with his behaviour and lifestyle. I find it inappropriate at the very least, but I did love Midnight in Paris and do see him as a great director with a memorable style. Thanks for sharing your views with us Margaret Ann! Diana

  6. martinn key2paris on February 2, 2022 at 9:11 am

    Hello Bonjour Diana, and thank you for an amazing post. An incentive to watch the movie again and visit Polidor. I’ll share with my guests. And next time you need an authentic Parisian to share, you know how to contact me.

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