thinking about woody allen

Allenandstatue2Lev Mendes at The Point:

The classic Woody Allen films possess something of the anxious intensity of youth (and a lot of the tormented eroticism of adolescence). But while the older director’s energy has certainly kept up—he continues to release, on average, a new film every year—a good deal of his early fervor has not. One gets the impression at times that for Allen filmmaking has become a kind of make-work, prized for its reflexive busyness above all. (Allen himself tends to reinforce this impression in interviews, as when he recently described directing as “a great distraction from the real agonies of the world.”) It is hardly surprising, then, that many of his later offerings have had a slighter, somewhat derivative air.In the much-maligned Anything Else (2003), for example, the whole image of New York and its highbrow inhabitants appeared out-of-touch and oddly passé. The film’s struggling young comedian lives in a beautiful Upper East Side walk-up and prattles on endlessly about psychoanalysis. The details were all wrong.

In light of this, it is easier to understand why viewers welcomed Allen’s Zelig-like transformation into an international director—his escape into a Europe of his own making. Yet, the films of the last decade also come through as less personally invested, their success increasingly dependent on the brilliance of Allen’s cinematographers and carefully chosen actors.

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