` Casablanca`,  Cinematographic Perfection of 78 years

Almost one generation got elder since Casablanca been seen in the world at first. `Casablanca` - about the war and duty, about braveness and revolution, but love was a priority. This onscreen was directed by Michael Curtiz in 1942. Millions of watchers in the US called it stunning and overwhelming. And only in the 60s critics trust it as the perfect drama of war and love for the last century. Here we talk about particular features why `Casablanca` is simultaneously classic and popular a long while.



Introduction with Casablanca: At the beginning of World War II, the coastal city in Morocco was the foster for European refugees and transshipment to get the visa. There all of them were waiting for permission and with the first flight or ship leave the mainland to Lisbon.

In a complicated trip to freedom, Portugal was the point before the final – South or North America.

The US government hasn’t claimed participation in the war yet, however the film was made after the attack in Pearl Harbour.

So, being in ambiguity, Casablanca became an amazing story of how people could perform their feelings in cruel times and how people could sacrifice feelings for national duty.

In the plot, Casablanca as a neutral French area wasn’t occupied but controlled by Nazi headquarters. Against the background of flaring aggression, Nazi campaigns, and the resistance movement, love arises.

A stamp dedicated to Ingrid Bergman Photo Shutterstock Olga Popova
A stamp dedicated to Ingrid Bergman Photo Shutterstock Olga Popova

Lovers once Rick (stunning Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (legendary Ingrid Bergman) meet again and feelings light up also again. For the first glance, cynical, sometimes brutal, Rick is revealed as a sensual, vulnerable man who is afraid of getting burned again. Ilsa is a perfect manipulator. A woman whose role is ambiguous here. She may seem weak and defenseless but at the same moment the illusions of fragility collapse under the mask of inaccessibility. Ilsa skilfully gestures with emotions and not only her own, but also those around her.

A stamp dedicated to Humphrey DeForest Bogart Photo Shutterstock Olga Popova
A stamp dedicated to Humphrey DeForest Bogart Photo Shutterstock Olga Popova

Each character in the film has its own story. Even if it is not told to the viewer, it is felt. They seem complete, and what is very important – the accomplished character of this story. Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a complex and mysterious character that everyone knows about and, moreover, the authorities are hunting. He is the prototype of a spy – an agent of the resistance movement, a man of the troubled world of the Nazis. On the other hand, Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) is the absolute antagonist of Victor Laszlo. French collaborator whose role is multifaceted. It seems that he is constantly in the game, and sometimes recedes into the shadows to give events a course. Of course, if Captain Renault appears in the love story, he is not the edge of this triangle. Even a spot near the central figure. But Victor is a direct participant in the love story of Rick and Ilsa. But I will not completely give out the plot.



 Despite the fact that the film was shot almost 80 years ago, it has retained the parameters of ideal black and white cinema in modern times.

What has happened to the film industry in the last 50 years?

In addition to the fact that computer graphics have appeared, virtually every shooting is not complete without stretching the color, correcting light and shadow transmission under the conditions of a computer and cool film cameras.

But then, in 1942, when the Casablanca was presented to the world, we can say that Hollywood reached its peak in this genre. In the episodes, shadows and light are perfectly conveyed, as a special game that is directly related to the character’s emotions.

For instance, the light falls on Victor’s face, thereby exposing his dignity and fearlessness before the framework of authorities.

Then a shadow covers the room and only silhouettes are visible in it – this is Rick, the same dark figure that wilted in gloomy thoughts, dullness of days and despair. For example, this club has become an abbey for those who decided to desperately fight for their freedom and trying in every possible way to grab all visas.

Refugees without money who are willing to give everything for a ticket to the ship. A layer of rich people who sell diamonds and are ready to buy up visas for enormous money. In this club, like an oasis in the midst of a grey time of trouble, the central events of the plot take place.

From love to betrayal and enemy intentions. What also is as eye-catching as the atmosphere are the costumes.

The entire entourage from hats to the interior is designed in a light style. Aesthetes will appreciate how skilfully combined in one film the echoes of impressionism, shadow expositions and light style of dresses, sequins and elegance.

Well, among other things, the script shows social conflicts, ridicules clichés, changes conditions.

As if the director seeks to protest not only with the cinema society, the authorities of America, but also with himself, showing that he was held hostage by the system. Where love is driven to the extreme by war. When you have to perform feats.


A new dramatic genre

Casablanca is probably one of the most significant films in which the genre of drama is revealed from new perspectives.

Combines the shades of comedy and social drama.

The plot is full of remarks, dialogues, which is typical dramatic, as well as sensual changes: tears of love, then songs through tears from weakness.

But this is not a tragic story, but rather a small period of time in which a love story unfolds. And time does not affect feelings. Whether it’s war, plague or death virus.



As I said, the film is a kind of protest against everything that happened in cinema, society and the politics of the world. The final feature that Curtiz let put everything in its place.

Finally, showing the viewer that all the established frames were created by someone and it is also up to people destroy them.

During the heat of the war, such a film meant denying the possible seizure of freedom.

Using the example of Victor, who managed to escape from a Nazi concentration camp, he ridicules the possible imprisonment of the individual. Casablanca –  cinema is not only about love, about war, but also about impossible turns of even the most gruelling strategies.

And he also gave the world a famous phrase, which was recorded separately and inserted as the final quote of the whole story – `Louis, I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship`. What is the magic of this `beautiful friendship`?

The fact that these simple words are preceded by a hundred minutes of exciting drama about real feelings, about the choice between reason and emotions, about the salvation of a beloved woman who is not destined to be.

The picture occupies a significant place in the history of cinema and the hearts of viewers around the world for almost a century.

Photos: Shutterstock / Photomontage: Martina Advaney

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