Monday, July 4, 2011

"Midnight and Paris" - To What Era Would I Return?

The Woody Allen film currently playing in theaters, "Midnight in Paris," might not seem to have any connection to the Holocaust.

Allen produced a somewhat nourishing, very tasty love poem to Paris that feels often like the result of combining "Manhattan" and "Annie Hall" and translating the union into French. Its sustenance comes from its central theme, that happiness only can be found in the present, whatever limitations that present may have.

In the climactic scene, Gil and Adriana realize they have very different ideas of where in time they would really like to live. By going to the 1920s, Gil realizes his nostalgia is only denial. Adriana, less evolved, finds the thrill of the 1890s Belle Epoque magnetic.

At one point Gil lists off all the things the 1920s never knew. I silently added 'the Holocaust' to the list. The time I would like to return to, just for a moment, is a time when no one had ever heard of -- and thus could not conceive of -- the Holocaust.

It would be critical to retain my self-awareness as a post-Auschwitz human being. Otherwise the time travel would be useless. But what would it be like to experience that Adam and Eve-like innocence?

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