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Woody Allen on Woody Allen

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Woody Allen On Woody Allen

Current Status:
In Season
Woody Allen

We gave it a B+

Woody Allen on the films of Woody Allen, that is. The interviews that fill Woody Allen on Woody Allen, conducted by the Swedish director Stig Bjorkman, took place in ’92-’93, amid the Woody-Mia media mayhem, but fortunately there’s no mention of Allen’s personal life. He talks about all of his movies through Manhattan Murder Mystery, passing from themes to techniques to music to influences without ever sounding pretentious or heavy-handed, which is more than you can say for some of the movies. In fact, Allen acknowledges something that has occurred even to those of us who don’t wish he had gone on making broad farces like Bananas, good as they were-that the dialogue in his early attempts at European-style films was often stilted and redolent of blurry subtitles. He has since done better at developing his own cinematic voice, combining comedy and whimsical fantasy with a melancholy that has more in common with Chekhovian wistfulness than existentialist fear and trembling. Allen’s matter-of-fact gloom is the most beguiling thing in the book. He notes his preference for clouds and rain, his difficulties in facing the world on bright, sunny mornings, and his firm belief that reality is overrated, although ”unfortunately, it’s the only place where we can get a good steak dinner.” B+