Rain and Woody Allen-A A +A
By Bob Lim
Monday, July 9, 2012
THE rains arrived a wee bit earlier this year. With the sweltering heat reaching record-high temperatures of 35 to 38 degrees celsius in the northern part of the archipelago, the onset of light scattered rainshowers felt like answered prayers. To many people, the appearance of cloudy skies with isolated rains in late May was met with a sense of relief.
I welcomed the rains from another context. I just viewed Midnight In Paris, and overnight became a Woody Allen fan again. Honestly, I never expected it to happen. It’s been ages since I knelt on the moviehouse floor, while viewing Annie Hall and Interiors, his homage to Ingmar Bergman. Then I lost touch with him as he churned out movies that were uninteresting to me.
Woody Allen came into the movie scene as an auteur, writing, directing and starring in many of his movies. Regarded as a comedic genius, he tackled high-brow concerns about life, death and the complex ramifications of relationships that he served in a funny way. And to be plain-looking in an industry that thrives on good looks, Woody Allen became the patron saint of nerds worldwide. Vicariously, he satiated the fantasies of his male fans as he cavorted with the likes of Diane Keaton in her prime. For the longest time, he showed extraordinary staying power by continuously making movies even without producing a blockbuster.
So why did I grow tired of his movies? Because it got boring repeatedly watching him agonize over his brand of existentialism and becoming incredulous of his success in flirting with a parade of younger women. Eventually, watching a Woody Allen movie was getting stale, like reading yesterday’s headlines.
Then came Midnight in Paris, and it felt like walking in the rain with the one you love.
The movie is a charming love song about nostalgia for a particular place in a particular time. The main character is a moderately successful Hollywood writer who wanted to produce a serious literary work, a novel. As he and his fiancee tagged along with the woman’s rich parents in Paris, their relationship started to unravel. It is ironic that while vacationing in the most romantic city in the world, the two lovers would discover how irreconcilable their differences are.
Here’s a sample.
Gil (the main character): This is unbelievable! Look at this! There’s no city like this in the world. There never was. Inez (his fiancee): You act like you’ve never been here before. Gil: I don’t get here often enough; that’s the problem. Can you picture how drop-dead gorgeous this city is in the rain? Imagine this town in the ‘20s. Paris in the ‘20s, in the rain. The artists and writers! Inez: Why does every city have to be in the rain? What’s wonderful about getting wet?
The exchange of dialogue about rain got me instantly hooked on the movie. Rain is, after all, a subject very close to all artists’ heart. Google “rain songs” in your computer and you’d be surprised at the seemingly endless list of songs penned by musical artists from different decades. The romantic connotation of rain is eternal. Or is it?
One morning a couple of weeks ago, I went to the office while a hard downpour occurred. I had to take public transport as my car was in the repair shop. Getting a taxi was difficult so I ended up hiking in the rain to get to the corner jeepney stand. My upper body was protected by an oversized raincoat but my legs and feet were vulnerable. I told myself it was okay. After all, I used to love taking long walks in the rain while I was in UP Diliman. I even remember braving a typhoon to see a movie in Cubao.
What’s wonderful about getting wet by the rain? The question popped up while I felt the chill inside the jampacked jeepney. Looking around, I saw the gloomy expression in the faces of my co-passengers. Everyone was quiet as the rickety jeepney hurdled the rising level of water on some parts of the city road along the way.
Upon reaching the office, I was lucky to find an extra pair of pants and socks but no extra shoes. While sipping a cup of coffee, I opened the PC and checked my Facebook account. Among the many postings was a private message from an artist friend who recently celebrated his birthday. His message was short and sweet.
“T.y. Bob, for the greet. Nagpintal ra ko sa kwarto. Ni-uwan, taod2 ni baha, i survived hinoon (I was painting in my room. It rained, then it flooded I survived though).
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 10, 2012.