Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The rooftops of Paris at Midnight in Paris

Galien-Laloue Le Moulin Rouge

There has to be a website that lays all the shots of Paris street scenes in the opening montage of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris side by side with the famous paintings they pay homage to.

Manet - Rue Mosnier with Flags

Allen and his cinematographer set up their camera at the same spots where the artists set up their easels or stood or sat with their sketchpads and filmed the scenes from the same angle at the same time of day depicted in maybe a couple of dozen paintings.

Jamieson Seine Paris

At least I think that’s what they did.


I’m not anything close to an art historian, but I’m sure I recognized a Manet or two, a bunch of Monets, the painting above by Gustave Caillebotte, possibly the one below also by Caillebotte…

caillebotte the house painters

and at least one…

Pissarro_The Boulevard Montmartre on a Cloudy Morning


Pissarro Avenue de l'opera


Pissarro boulevard_montmartre night


Or was that a Cortes?

paris edouard_leon_cortes_ place_st_michel_notre_dame

I’m also pretty sure they worked similar homages into the movie and that the scene at Maxim’s includes something from Degas and of course the scene at the Moulin Rogue cribs from Lautrec. Allen is cagey enough not to show it but I suspect his Lautrec may be sketching one of the Lautrecs Allen’s scene designer used as models.

Lautrec At the Moulin Rogue

Two actual Picassos appear, along with Picasso, who looks like himself.

Picasso Self-portrait

This portrait of Gertrude Stein, which provides a funny moment when we see Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein sitting in a chair beneath it…

picasso gertrude stein

And one I haven’t been able to turn up with the Google, so maybe it isn’t a real Picasso after all, which is ok, since we learn isn’t what art historians think it is.

Anyway, back to Paris itself…

Renoir Bal du moulin

The problem with trying to identify the paintings I think I saw in the montage is that Paris itself looks like a painting…

Monet quai_de_louvre

…and it has been painted so many times by so many different artists…

Childe Hassam

…that every shot of Paris looks like it must have been a painting.

Stein Evening on a Parisian Boulevard

For instance, there's a shot of some rooftops with rows and rows of orange chimneys. I thought I know that one! But do I really?

Do I know that painting or did the shot look so much like a painting that my mind was convinced it "remembered" that painting?


I think I need to see the movie again.

Or go to Paris.



Make sure to click on the pictures. They’re what they call in the video game trade Easter Eggs. Most of them will take you to more to see than just an enlarged image.

Originally posted at LanceMannion.com.


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