Casablanca in the 40’s was the city of hope and despair, a meeting place for those seeking adventure, for fugitives and for people who risk its life in this deceitful oasis, hoping that a new life awaits them on American land. This is the fascinating background on which an unperishable love story unfolds its last pages and with it one of the greatest stories of the silver screen.
We are in 1941, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the owner of Rick’s Café Américain a place that draws not only Americans, Nazi or Italian officers, French diplomats or refugees but, as he will soon find out, a young love that he hasn’t got over with, Isla Lund (Ingrid Bergman). Isla is now married to Victor Laszlo (Peter Henreid), a Czech partisan wanting to get rid of Nazi followers. Eve though the situation is dense and complicated, the only thing that Rick and Isla are certain of is the fact that the haven’t ceased to love each other in all this time. Soon enough, Rick has to choose between giving in Laszlo and be with the woman he loves or helping her to escape along with her husband and never see her again. All the time, Rick has to pick his side, to pick between virtue and love.
When Michael Curtiz accepted to direct this film and even when the production was done, no one ever thought that Casablanca would have this much success, for they all thought that is was going to be just another Hollywoodian picture about love and war. But as millions of cinema lovers have said and are still saying, Casablanca is more than a simple drama, it is an intelligent film with a charming story and an exquisite cast. Is not just a simple love story for love is never simple and mostly because this isn’t a happy end picture. And as we all know, sadness is a better teacher than the moments of pure joy, therefore this might be one of the key points why this film was and still is one of the best films ever made.
The characters from Casablanca come to this city to keep an appointment with destiny. Here, where danger is at its peak, they gamble their las chance of happiness. But what happiness can there be in a violent and ruthless world? As characters Isla and Rick are showing us, there is the happiness of the time that goes by, of the sunny memories of the past that can still warm the wintery present. The reason why so may lines have become iconic is that they are universal, the love is the same even if it ends badly. For you can live without actual love, but you can’t live without a sad love story.
Casablanca is also the description of an era of turmoil and uncertainty. Rick, Isla, Laszlo are just names that step out of the crowd through the story, but their drama is not singular, losing the one you love or the need to silence what your heart was telling you was a thing that happened to thousands of souls. With Casablanca, we either relive what we have lived once, either live all that we haven’t yet and that’s what makes this film so great: the way it captures in a hundred of minutes not only the drama of war but also the drama of being a human with a beating and loving heart.