Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Casablanca: Ilsa's capricious Love

I happened to watch "Casablanca" past weekend for the nth time. Reams have been written on how Humphrey Bogart turned a romantic hero, the war related backdrop etc. Let me turn to a different aspect of the movie. A very lovely, stunningly beautiful Ingrid Bergman plays Ilsa Lund. The pivotal moment of the movie is when Ilsa sashays into "Rick's Cafe" and sees Sam playing on the piano. She is 'surprised'. Not shocked. Not thrown off. Just a 'surprise'. Note that she sees Sam who is a friend of Rick, the guy she had left high and dry in Paris after convincing him that she was deeply in love with him. Ilsa strides into the cafe with her "supposedly" true love the revolutionary Laszlo. Ilsa asks Sam the whereabouts of Rick like one would ask about a schoolmate not like he was a 'soul mate'. Then coyly asks Sam to play "as time goes by". Rick had banned that song from his life. Sam used to play that song when Rick and Ilsa were in love.

The scene at the station is classic. Its pouring rain. Germans are expected to march into Paris. Rick is fleeing Paris since he is hunted by Germans. Ilsa was to join him. Instead he gets a letter "I cannot go with you. I can never see you again". When Ilsa walks into his life again Rick is furious. Ilsa comes to see him later that night alone. Rick asks "have you counted the days". No she has not. Why would she? She is a woman. She thought Laszlo her hero was dead. She meets Rick and is charmed by him. Unfortunately for Rick Laszlo turns up when Ilsa was to join Rick and escape  from Paris. With her hero back like Lazarus Ilsa trashes Rick to the dustbin. Of course the day before she had swooned in Rick's arms asking him  to kiss her "like it was the last time".

As luck would have it Ilsa and Laszlo are in Casablanca to go to Lisbon and they need exit visas which had fallen into Rick's hands. A bitter Rick refuses  to part with them for any money Laszlo would  offer. Ilsa tries her hand at beguiling Rick like she is in love with him and would stay with him if he could give one visa to Laszlo. The movie hurtles to the famous climax where Rick engineers Ilsa's and Laszlo's escape. Before parting Rick tells Laszlo how Ilsa tried to convince him that she was in love with him while she was only in love with Laszlo. Ilsa smiles a proud smug smile at her supposed "virtue".

I happened to see a Tamil movie after a long time in the theater. It was "Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya". A X-ian girl falls in love with a Hindu boy. After falling in love with him  during a conflict with family she sends a SMS text message "GO away, Leave me alone". She goes on to marry and be happy. The boy, well dont we all know.

"Go Away", "Leave me alone". "Oh those letters they are childish, can't believe I wrote them".....Whether its Cleopatra  or Ilsa or Trisha or XYZ I always wonder at how beautifully women walk away and to rub it in they act like the guy was an "idiot". La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Can women truly fall in love? Or be truthful to what they say they love?

1 comment:

Rishi said...

Heartless guttersnipes- all of them! Beware of lovely women Aravindhan.