Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Casablanca


Acrylic on Canvas "36" x 36" - Private Collection (Kelowna, B.C.)

The story behind the work:
Casablanca. Sometimes it all just comes together – the story, the cast, the dialog, the direction – and you get a movie that stands the test of time. According to Jan, Casablanca is a great romance, a stirring wartime adventure, a suspenseful action movie, and in the end, a terrific buddy movie. It’s listed again and again on the top ten lists of critics and fans alike. Its snappy lines are repeated by movie buffs the world over. And with Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart in the lead, what more could you want?

World War II has engulfed Europe, reaching all the way to Rick Blaine’s Café Americain in French-held Morocco. The Nazis have overrun France and are heading into its unoccupied possessions in Africa – and all kinds of people are trying to escape by way of Casablanca. The plot revolves around “letters of transit” that will provide safe passage by air to Lisbon, and then to America, a rare and precious commodity indeed. And even though Blaine (Humphrey Bogart in his first romantic lead) is an embittered expatriate who would prefer to sit out the war in his café, the tightening conflict eventually forces Rick - and everybody else - to take sides.

For me, this painting was an exercise in colour and movement, but when Jan saw the completed picture she said immediately "that's Casablanca!"  I had no idea what she was talking about, until she pointed out the piano, the cigarettes, the cigarette smoke, the white jacket, letters, romance and a hotbed of turmoil!  And so it became Casablanca.

Here's to you, kid!