As ''Vicky Christina Barcelona'' gets ready to steam up theaters, the acclaimed director describes exactly what he was thinking when he made a dozen of his best-received (and worst-received) films
Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, ...
Credit: Victor Bello

After 50-plus years in show business, Woody Allen’s heard it all. He’s been hailed as a comic genius and attacked as a self-indulgent narcissist. His films have been celebrated as cultural events (Annie Hall, Manhattan, the list goes on) and panned or, worse, ignored (September, Anything Else, that list goes on as well). His persona as the neurotic Everyman made him an unlikely folk hero, while his offscreen life — most notably the revelation in 1992 of his affair with his current wife Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his longtime girlfriend and cinematic muse Mia Farrow — brought scorn from some quarters. Allen says he tunes out the background din of acclaim, disdain, and everything in between: ”Even when I’m embraced, I’m not embraced warmly. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Here he revisits some of the highlights of his legendary career. Seen through his famous thick-framed and far-from-rose-colored glasses, it seems the hits and misses are sometimes one and the same.