In my Drama class we are studying the greatest Academy Award-winning films of all time, so therefore it was only fitting that we should watch THE film of the 20th century, Casablanca. Directed by Michael Curtiz, this drama, set in the height of World War II, studies passionate love amidst chaos and desperation. Starring Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund and Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo, this epic shows us how to love when thousands cannot.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching Casablanca, here is a synopsis of the characters and the plot:-
The year is 1942. World War II is at its peak, and many Europeans are fleeing to the relative safety of the Americas. Many of these refugees will travel through Europe to the Mediterranean, then travel through Africa to Casablanca. From there they will fly to Lisbon and then, to the United States. However, many people don’t have the proper visas to reach Lisbon, and so are trapped in Casablanca. Richard Blaine, better known as Rick, is among these people. He is stuck in Casablanca and under constant watch from the authorities. However, just when things couldn’t get more out of the ordinary, Rick’s lover from Paris, Ilsa Lund, walks into Rick’s cafe and back into his life. The rest of the film is mostly Ilsa and Rick falling in love again, and Rick helping Ilsa and her husband, escaped POW Victor Laszlo get out of Morocco.
I really loved this film because it was extremely emotional and filled with action and suspense, but at the heart of it all it’s just about two people exploring their love for each other. It is deeply touching to see Rick and Ilsa continue to love each other even though Ilsa is married and the biggest war in the history of the world is underway. There are a lot of struggles in the film (emotional for Rick, political for Ilsa and Victor, etc.) but I think that that is the message in the film – that two people who love each other can overcome any problem or situation as long as they have faith in each other.
For example, throughout the film, Victor and Ilsa are trying to obtain a visa for Lisbon. They try many different ways (going to Signor Ferrari and various others in the black market, engaging in dealings with the authorities, etc.) but in the end, Rick’s love for Ilsa makes him give her the letters of transit that gets Ilsa and Victor passage to Lisbon. This is Rick’s ultimate sacrifice, and ultimate display of his love for Ilsa, because it is yet another goodbye for them, but this time it is goodbye forever. It takes great courage and an even greater amount of love to say goodbye to someone you love and probably never see them again.
Casablanca is my favourite film in the universe, so if you haven’t seen it, go and see it now!!! Watch and learn. Learn about love and circumstance. Learn about being human. Learn about WWII. Learn anything and everything, because Casablanca is the greatest teacher that the film industry, and possibly the world, can provide. Amazingness.