We'll always have Paris


December, 1941, Casablanca[1] airport. Ilsa refuses to board the plane to Lisbon with Victor Laszlo, her husband, a hero of the Resistance. Rick Blaine, the dark American whom she secretly loves, urges her to do her duty and tells her, as a final argument “We’ll always have Paris”.

Rick and Ilse say goodbye in Casablanca but they met in Paris, the year before: the added post-synch flashbacks show them, happy, in a convertible, on the Champs Élysées, a few months before Nazi boots tread the cobblestones of the most beautiful avenue in the world. Paris, an erotic, refined and joyful city, has since been overtaken by history. Even if, lurking in the shadow of its elegant outlines and perspectives, resistance is organised, Paris is sorrowful.

"We will always have…". The Paris that Rick summons in a whisper is that of a parenthesis, between a happy past and a promise. A city that is no longer but could be again. Suspended Paris, unpredictable like its lovers, has the perfume of the woman who does not exist. But it is not excluded that we meet there.

France Jaigu

Translation by Joanne Conway


[1] Casablanca (1942) is an American dramatic film directed by Michael Curtiz with Humphrey Bogart (Rick Blaine) and Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa).


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