It’s a common theme, maybe the most important theme, of Fairy Tales and Mythological stories: when the Hero or Heroin answers the “Call” to adventure,” magical helpers show up seemingly out of nowhere.
What is that a metaphor for?
Similarly in this story, when Gil answers his own inner call to walk the streets of Paris alone at night (instead of following his ‘Social Duty’ or ‘Dharma’ and going with his fiance and her friends, who though attractive, whose views on life and art, he couldn’t stand) the “greatest adventure of his life” magically shows up.
Dance and Dionysus
Inez goes off dancing with Michael Sheen’s character night after night, and in another time and place there’s a very impacting scene of Gil dancing the Charleston at a jubilant outdoor party, apparently given by the Fitzgeralds. That scene was so jubilent and the imagery so exuberant, it got me thinking a lot about dance. Dance is a metaphor for Nature flowing through the body. From this point of view, Nature comes to symbolize something that is good, healing, and perfect, rather than something that is dirty, corrupted, and something to be repressed. Alcohol, which is such an important symbol in this movie as well as the imagery of ‘the Roaring 20s’ along with the art of that period, is of course a symbol of Dionysus (Bacchus) himself and his secret power to unlock the gates that are holding back the normal flow of ‘Nature’ throughout the social conditioned, ego dominated human body. Of course, we know that the reality of alcohol ravaged many a life during this period and continues to do so, but here it is important to realize that it is serving as a symbol for something else. ‘That which unlocks the gates.’