The movie ‘Casablanca’ is set in the World War II setting. One of the main characters Rick owns a makeshift café in the northern Africa town of Casablanca in Morocco. He refuses to take sides in the war despite his long standing opposition to the Nazis. The movie revolves around Rick and his relationship with a young woman named Ilsa. His short association with her causes him great resentment, even derailing his insurgency against the Nazis. The story runs from a time they were having a good time in Paris. The lived and chose not to reveal too much about each to one another. One day they plan to escape together, but on the material day, Ilsa fails to show up which leads Rick to relocate to Casablanca living in isolation from this heart break. The re-union of Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca reignites their passion flames with frequent suggestions of Ilsa cheating on her husband Victor, with rick. Ilsa and her husband Victor seek an escape route to America, and while Rick has the exit visas, he chooses not to grant them to Ilsa for the intense heartbreak he feels after her disappointing him in Paris. It is in this phase of the movie that Ilsa reveals to nick that victor is her husband and she had presumed him dead during the time they spent together in Paris. After this revelation, Rick understands the circumstances, and despite being granted the choice to either run with Ilsa, or let her be with her husband, chooses to grant her the exit visas. The movie concludes with rick revealing of his intention to rejoin the war against the Nazis, and promises Ilsa that she will always hold a place in her heart, summed up by the famous quote by Rick, ‘We'll always have Paris. We did not have it beforewe'dwe'd lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.’
The movie is set in North Africa which is a good conceptual location for the Movie. The setting of the movie in this part of the world helps in the logical interaction between the various parties to the war without losing relevance. Parties that were not party to the war, such as the United States are able to interact with both divides to the war, that is the Vichy’s and the Nazis. The fact that both groups are visitors to Casablanca in this period highlights the co-existence they needed to adopt in order to survive through the war. The tensions between the two divides are played out for full effect by use of contextual placement of the movie in Casablanca. Rick is an apt demonstration of this position as he initially plays the link between the two sides by his role as the ‘conceited club owner’. As the movie advances however, his allegiance shifts and he is revealed to be aligned to Ilsa and her movement. The involvement of Rick in a way mirrors the involvement of united states itself, marking the hope in the beginning to the end of the Nazi imposed hegemony in the world.
The movie reveals, by its characters and circumstances that the times of the war were indeed tough times and the dynamics governing relationships, both between the individuals and the regimes of government, for instance between the Vichy government of France and the Nazis as complex. Rick, Ilsa, and Victor are subjected to a confounding relationship, with Ilsa painfully torn in the middle on the direction to take. The circumstances that lead to their being in this position is caused by the war. The romantic flourish between Rick and Ilsa takes off after the assumption by Ilsa that her husband is dead, being a French revolutionary leader. The relationship between the Vichy’s government and the Nazis as represented by Captain Renault and Strasser for the Vichy’s and the Nazis respectively represent the odd dynamics that the war presented for the invaders and the subjugated. Despite the collaboration granted the Nazi’s by the Vichy’s, they were unable to exert ultimate control over the French acquisitions despite the surrender of the French. Further, Captain Renault is seen as a conflicting figure, much reflecting the situation in which that Ilsa finds herself. Renault, by circumstances is forced to collaborate with the Nazis in their administration of the French territories granted. In this light, Renault betrays the collusion between Rick and victor appearing as a betrayer of the French revolutionaries. In contrast, the closing scenes reveal Renault in union with rick. The other important quote disseminated in this part of the movie is where Rick notes to Renault, ‘Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.’ This marks the possibility of a flourishing of a partnership in the insurgency against the Nazis, although it is not clear where the partnership may flourish, whether in Casablanca or in somewhere else. The seed of this revolutionary in Rick is confirmed in his choosing to stay in Casablanca, giving up on Ilsa despite his love for her indicating to Ilsa ‘But I've got a job to do too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of’
The movie therefore is a conflict of ideals, necessitated by the urgencies of war. However, the need for liberation and self determination is evident especially towards the end where the plot indicates several characters deciding towards fighting for this ideal.