By Peggy Nelson
Casablanca – 1942 – dir. Michael Curtiz
So. Here you are, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), a young woman in your twenties, newly hatched and out and about in the world, meeting the usual suspects. Among them is Victor Laszlo (Paul Heinreid); he’s handsome, passionate, committed to a good cause, the only cause: liberté, égalité, fraternité. In fact, he’s actually the leader of the resistance! And single. And he singles you out. You cannot believe your luck. There are many late nights in the café, and then later nights at his apartment. Your relationship is secret, this is for your protection he says, but that just adds to the aura. There’s a lot of travel, too; it isn’t safe to stay too long in one place, especially for him. There seems to be one “it” city every half-century, Paris is currently “it,” and you’ve arrived.
Then the Nazis pick him up. Then you fall in love. But not with him.