The most recent episode of The Close-Up podcast, created by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, dug into its archives to unearth a live 2005 Q&A with director Woody Allen.
At the time, the writer-director’s Match Point was about to hit theaters, and the podcast used the opportunity to take a look back on Allen’s career. When asked about his feelings on the film, the veteran director tried to be as transparent as possible. “I don’t usually speak fondly of my own films,” said Allen. “But this one came out well and Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Scarlett Johansson make a very hot team together.”
As synonymous as Johansson became for a while with his films — she also starred in 2006’s Scoop and 2008’s Vicki Cristina Barcelona — so are his use of “cut and dry titles” to open his films, about which the show host also asked. “When I started making films titles got to be such a big thing. It was the era of the The Pink Panther and there were these enormous graphics,” Allen recalled. “Sometimes [the graphics] were better than the film that followed them.” He explained that the “quick, fast, and inexpensive” means by which he titled his films allowed his writing to speak for itself.
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Toward the end of the 31-minute program, Allen discussed his role in front of the camera. The director had previously stated he thought Dustin Hoffman could play any role that Allen had played, and probably better. “I think that’s true. There have been a number of films that I played that any number of actors could have played at the minimum as well as me,” said Allen. “And I’m being honest, much better.”
The conversation eventually takes a more serious approach as Allen’s intent behind the endings of his films is brought into question. “I think there are small [oases], these moments of respite, and forget for the moment of the abysmal nightmare that human existence is,” the director jokingly quipped.
Allen’s next movie, Café Society, recently opened the Cannes Film Festival and will debut July 15 on Amazon. Listen to the full podcast above.