Casablanca has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it in junior high, when a stony smartass doing the right thing with deadpan wit and a cool vibe naturally resonated with me. Over the last few days, however, the classic 1942 flick has become a source of inspired togetherness due to a certain scene being shared over and over since the horrific attacks in Paris.
To quickly recap, Casablanca tells the story of an expatriate American bar owner who chooses to help the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II in the Vichy French-controlled city of Casablanca, Morocco, although it means certain heartbreak (again) for the beloved detached romantic.
In the scene that’s recently gone viral, Nazi officers drinking at the bar take over the piano and belt out the patriotic German tune “Die Wacht am Rhein.” Upon hearing this, the heroic resistance leader defiantly goes to the bar’s house band and demands they play the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise.” The musicians not only play it loud as hell, but the other bar patrons stand up to join in the melodic bellowing of it, united in drowning out the nearby Nazis, who ultimately quiet down and return to their table, as the crowd cheers and scattered chants of “Viva France” can be heard in the gleeful noise.
It’s a beautiful scene of the French national anthem being sung in furious choir to silence evil, if only for a moment.