Casablanca is one of my favourite films; it has everything I like in a motion picture: a good story, mixing both the personal and the social; strong performances, a great score, and a really strong sense of self – the assured direction doesn’t waste any time setting the table for the story, from the first frames about the escape route from occupied France to Casablanca (and onwards onto Lisbon, which was used by refugees as an escape route into America; even though Portugal was ruled by an authoritarian, fascist leader – António de Oliveira Salazar – the country remained neutral in World War II) to the last shot of the plane flying above and Rick’s famous “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship“.
A few weeks ago, while I was re-watching it (I recorded it a few years ago in my TV cable box during a rerun on RTP2, the culturally-inclined channel of Portugal’s national public television and radio provider, RTP, so I can watch it whenever I want) I noticed a particularly interesting line which felt perfect for this segment!
It comes at a very sensitive time in the film, during which (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT) Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and Rick (Humphrey Bogart) have an argument about why she didn’t leave with him from occupied Paris. She starts explaining him her life when she started living in Paris, including how she met Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a member of the Czechoslovak Resistance, and fell in love with him. Rick cuts the conversation short, ending it on a very sour note with the following lines: