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23-07-2013
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The Films of Woody Allen
I am a diehard Allen fan and couldn't believe we have no thread to celebrate or discuss his films. Sacrebleu!

Maybe it's because we wouldn't wanna belong to a thread that has us on it? hee hee.

The man is a prolific artist, and notwithstanding what you think of him personally, his work is a testament to his genius writing abilities, his hands-off directorial approach, his talent for assembling the best casts ever, and his ear for both comedy and drama. No one has been nominated for more writing awards at the Academies. No one has been as consistent in his or her artistic output. He loves what he does, and it shows.

Here is a list of all his films, courtesy of of the excellent and aptly named website Every Woody Allen Movie.com - I've seen all of the films he's written and/or directed. I don't necessarily agree with all the little "reviews" in this list, but it's a nice compendium of his work nonetheless.

Quote:
INTRODUCTION

1.What's New Pussycat 1965
Woody Allen's legendary film career gets off to an auspicious start in this wacky '60s sex comedy.

2.What's Up, Tiger Lily? 1966
Woody Allen's career stumbles a bit with this Japanese thriller re-dubbed into a comedy. It's about as funny as it sounds.

3.Casino Royale 1966
Woody Allen is relegated to a small supporting role in a disastrous James Bond spoof.

4.Take the Money and Run 1969
Woody Allen's hilarious directorial debut stays mostly within his slapstick comfort zone.

5.Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story 1971
Woody Allen makes a funny, little-seen TV movie about the Nixon administration.

6.Bananas 1971
Woody Allen mixes in some political satire amidst the slapstick flailing, in a movie that is smarter but not quite as funny as his previous.

7.Play It Again, Sam 1972
The ghost of Humphrey Bogart helps Woody Allen fall in love with Diane Keaton in his most serious movie so far.

8.Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask 1972
The 1972 sketch comedy semi-classic which features such sophisticated delights as a neurotic sperm played by Woody Allen and a thousand-pound sentient breast.

9.Sleeper 1973
A futuristic comedy inspired in equal parts by silent comedies and pulp sci-fi is the funniest movie so far.

10.Love and Death 1975
If your two favorite things are slapstick comedies and epic Russian literature, then this might be your favorite movie ever.

1965 - 1975: THE 'EARLY, FUNNY' FILMS

11.The Front 1976
Woody Allen gets his Erin Brokovich on in Martin Ritt's crowd-pleasing, light-weight message movie about the evils of McCarthyism.

12.Annie Hall 1977
The influential romantic comedy that is by far the most well-known and widely liked Woody Allen movie.

13.Interiors 1978
Woody Allen follows up Annie Hall with a grim, depressing story of a family torn apart by a messy divorce that literally could not be any less funny.

14.Manhattan 1979
Manhattan remains one of Woody Allen's most popular and acclaimed movies, and the first of many sprawling ensemble comedy/dramas that would become his trademark.

15.Stardust Memories 1980
A harsh, hilarious look at a comedian-turned-director suffering an artistic block.

16.A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy 1982
Woody Allen's first film with Mia Farrow is not very good. Also, it's not actually a sex comedy at all.

17.Zelig 1983
The profound story of a man blessed and cursed with the ability to blend seamlessly into any environment.

18.Broadway Danny Rose 1984
An uncharacteristically straight-forward adventure/comedy about a big night in the life of a hopeless, likable talent agent.

19.The Purple Rose of Cairo 1985
A moving tribute to the ability of great art to temporarily distract you from how crappy your life is.

1976 - 1985: WILD MAN BLUES

20.Hannah and her Sisters 1986
Hannah and her Sisters marks the end up an ambitious, experimental period and the beginning of an austere, mature period. It is also one of his most enduringly beloved films.

21.Radio Days 1987
Woody Allen's nostalgic tribute to the glamorous early days of radio.

22.King Lear 1987
Woody Allen has a small role in Jean-Luc Godard's bizarre Shakespeare adaptation.

23.September 1987
Woody Allen's tumultuous, unpopular experiment with small-scale chamber drama has its moments, but not many.

24.Another Woman 1988
An unfairly overlooked semi-classic that improves on Allen's Bergmanesque dramas, thanks to a formidable cast that includes Gena Rowlands.

25.New York Stories 1989
A short film compilation that also features Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Allen's, which is one of his funniest creations, is easily the best of the three.

26.Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989
Woody Allen really wants you to know what an empty, Godless world this is.

27.Alice 1990
A sometimes-touching but uneven fantasy about a wealthy woman discovering herself.

28.Scenes From a Mall 1991
The worst movie I've looked at so far, a grating, shallow drama notable mostly for its heinous miscasting.

29.Shadows and Fog 1991
An unfairly overlooked movie that transports Woody Allen and a star-studded cast to 1920s Europe.

30.Husbands and Wives 1992
Woody Allen opens a window into his soul and all hell breaks loose.

1986-1992: CRIES AND WHISPERS

31.Manhattan Murder Mystery 1993
Woody Allen re-teams with Diane Keaton and Marshall Brickman for a movie made up of the bits cut out of Annie Hall.

32.Don't Drink The Water 1994
Woody Allen's first foray into television is an infrequently funny screwball comedy with Michael J. Fox and Dom DeLuise.

33.Bullets Over Broadway 1994
A delightful 1920s period comedy about writers, actors, and gangsters.

34.Mighty Aphrodite 1995
Woody Allen's '90s winning streak continues with another successful comedy.

35.Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story 1995
A schlocky TV-movie about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow's famous relationship.

36.Everyone Says I Love You 1996
Woody Allen's attempt at musical comedy is pretty good... if you like musical comedy.

37.The Sunshine Boys 1996
The potentially interesting team of Woody Allen and Peter Falk is squandered in a half-baked made-for-tv remake.

38.Deconstructing Harry 1997
A dark, uneven comedy about a misanthropic novelist struggling to get his life in order.

39."My Dinner With Woody" [Just Shoot Me] 1997
Woody Allen makes a brief cameo in an episode of the sitcom Just Shoot Me.

40.Wild Man Blues 1997
An engrossing documentary about Woody Allen on tour with his jazz band.

41.Celebrity 1998
Woody Allen's caustic, sprawling take on fame and show business.

42.Antz 1998
Woody Allen mixes it up with a big-budget animated children's movie.

43.The Impostors 1998
A safe, amiable comedy from Stanley Tucci that features Woody Allen in a small supporting role.

44.Sweet and Lowdown 1999
Woody Allen coaxes electric performances out of Sean Penn and Samantha Morton in a fun jazz-era throwback.

1993-1999: WOODY ALLEN FALL PROJECTS

45.Small Time Crooks 2000
One of Woody Allen's tamest, gentlest, least inspired comedies in decades.

46.Picking Up The Pieces 2000
Alfonso Arau's comedy about a magical severed hand casts Woody Allen as a truck-driving Texan named Tex.

47.The Curse of the Jade Scorpion 2001
Woody Allen finally makes a truly bad film, with this laughless, unmysterious mystery/comedy set in 1940.

48.Company Man 2001
Douglas McGrath directs himself, Woody Allen and others in a dire period farce.

49.Sounds From a Town I Love 2001
A slight but interesting short film that responds to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

50.Hollywood Ending 2002
A limp slapstick starring Woody Allen as a movie director who goes blind in the midst of a shoot.

51.Anything Else 2003
Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci star in Annie Hall revisited for a younger, unrealistically portrayed generation.

52.Melinda and Melinda 2004
Woody Allen tells the story of Melinda twice - once seriously, once comedically.

53.Match Point 2005
Woody Allen's departure from New York results in a thriller that is sexy and smart, although emotionally cold.

54.Scoop 2006
Scarlett Johansson and Woody Allen return to London for a slight but pleasant comedy.

55.Cassandra's Dream 2007
A lazy, uninspired British-set drama that recycles the themes of Match Point.

56.Vicky Cristina Barcelona 2008
A breezy summer vacation of a movie set in Spain.

57.Whatever Works 2009
Larry David plays a cranky old man with a winning philosophy.

58.You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2010
Woody Allen's attempt to turn Interiors into a light comedy ends up looking a lot like all of his other movies.

2000-2010: STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE...

59.Woody Allen: A Documentary 2011
A sprawling, comprehensive documentary that focuses on everything from Woody Allen's childhood to Midnight in Paris.

60.Midnight in Paris 2011
Woody Allen enlists Owen Wilson for a charming, hilarious trip through Paris present and past.

61.To Rome With Love 2012
A light, cobbled together comedy that takes advantage of its Italian setting.
AND, of course, about to open imminently Blue Jasmine.



What's your favourite Woody film? Or which do you think are his best?
What do you love about his movies?
What don't you like?
How are his films unique in current cinema offerings, in your opinion?

__________________
Fashion: Don’t you recognize me? Death: You should know that I don’t see very well and I can’t wear glasses. Fashion: I’m Fashion, your sister. Death: My sister? Fashion: Yes. You and I together keep undoing and changing things down here on earth although you go about it in one way and I another. Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue Between Fashion and Death.”abridged
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23-07-2013
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SOME OF THE GREAT LITERARY ALLUSIONS IN ALLEN'S WORK:

Quote:
So in honor of “Blue Jasmine,” slated for limited release on July 26, we thought we’d look back at some of our favorite literary allusions in the Allen canon. We’ve forgone most of the biggies listed above in favor of some smaller Easter eggs.

Streetcar Named Desire in “Sleeper”
Continuing with the Streetcar theme, one of the most fantastically bizarre moments in this fantastically bizarre film, about a nebbishy health-food store owner who is cryogenically frozen and then defrosted 200 years later, comes when Allen’s character Miles begins enacting Blanche’s famous “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers” scene with Diane Keaton as his Brando. Check out this video comparing Allen’s Blanche to Vivien Leigh’s. The guy’s not half bad.

Heart of Darkness in “Whatever Works”
In this 2009 comedy, the aptly named Boris Yellnikoff is a bitter, cynical misanthrope (aptly played by Larry David), who tries, and fails, to kill himself, taking after his father who committed suicide because he found reading the newspaper just too depressing. Boris explains: “’The horror,’ Kurtz said at the end of Heart of Darkness, ‘the horror.’ Lucky Kurtz didn’t have the Times delivered in the jungle. Ugh … then he’d see some horror. But what do you do?”

Strindberg in “Manhattan”
In “Manhattan,” Allen’s 1979 rueful, self-deprecating romance, his character Isaac, a television comedy writer whose sorry track record with love currently has him dating a high school senior (Mariel Hemingway), says of himself, “When it comes to relationships with women, I’m the winner of the August Strindberg Award.” The line didn’t impress Joan Didion, but in comparing himself to the famously misogynistic Swedish dramatist who penned plays like Miss Julie, Allen’s reference is apt and pretty sad.

Ariel in “Annie Hall”
In the moment that perhaps best encapsulates the differences between the mismatched couple at the center of this 1977 classic, Allen’s neurotic Alvy pulls a copy of Sylvia Plath’s poetry collection from Annie’s (Diane Keaton) shelf. “Ah, Sylvia Plath,” he says, “an interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.” The folksy Annie’s response? “Oh, I don’t know. Some of her poems seem neat.”

Faulkner in “Midnight in Paris”
Sure, the 2012 movie is teeming with allusions, but only one spurred a lawsuit. The group that represents William Faulkner’s estate brought suit against Sony Pictures Classics last fall claiming that a line spoken by the time-hopping writer Gil (Owen Wilson) was copyright infringement. “The past is not dead! Actually, it’s not even past. You know who said that? Faulkner. And he was right. And I met him, too. I ran into him at a dinner party,” says Gil. Of course, the actual quote from Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun is “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” But you get the point.

Schopenhauer in “Stardust Memories”
Throughout his movies, many brainy artsy types captivate Allen’s attention. But there’s a perfect on-the-nose concision to the fact that his character in this 1980 comedy about a film director on the eve of a career retrospective falls for a young movie extra (Charlotte Rampling) because she can speed-read Schopenhauer.

The Russians in “Husbands and Wives”
Thanks to “Love and Death,” Allen’s 1975 sweeping homage to the Crime and Punishment of it all, we know that the filmmaker has a thing for the Russians. But in “Husbands and Wives” (1992) we learn how they all stack up in his estimation. “Tolstoy is a full meal,” “Turgenev is a fabulous desert,” and “Dostoyevsky is a full meal with a vitamin pill and extra wheat germ.”

Dickinson in “Crimes and Misdemeanors”
Throughout this 1989 comedy-drama, Cliff (Allen), a struggling documentarian, is constantly at odds with his blowhard brother-in-law Lester (Alan Alda). It’s a rivalry that comes to a delicious literary head when Lester tries to one-up Cliff by demonstrating his ability to recite Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death.”

Cummings in “Hannah and Her Sisters”
In one of the sweetest (albeit a tad creepy) scenes in the Allen oeuvre, Elliot (played by Michael Caine) stages a run-in with his wife’s sister Lee (Barbara Hershey), whom he secretly loves. After an impromptu trip to a bookstore, he insists on buying her a volume of e.e. cummings poetry and then points her attention to the poem on page 112 because it reminds him of her. “I do not know what it is about you that closes and opens;/only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses.” It’s worth noting that the final line of the poem (“Nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”) is the epigraph to The Glass Menagerie by another of Allen’s favorite literary muses, Tennessee Williams.

Books about death in “Annie Hall”
We can trace the rise and fall of the great love affair between Alvy and Annie in books about death. Early on in the relationship, he buys her The Denial of Death and Death and Western Thought because death is a “big subject” with him. Later, as they divide their belongings, they can tell whose books belong to whom because the poetry tomes are all hers and those on death and dying belong to him. And finally, as Annie chooses to stay in L.A. with the wealthy rock star Tony (Paul Simon) over returning to New York with Allen’s character, she out Alvies Alvy. “What’s so great about New York? It’s a dying city. You read Death in Venice,” she says. “You didn’t read Death in Venice until I bought it for you,” he responds. Nevertheless.
Courtesy of "wordandfilm.com"

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26-07-2013
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I'm surprised there hasn't been a thread about Woody Allen before!

I think the first Allen film I've watched was Match Point, but I didn't see the whole film. Then I saw Midnight in Paris at the cinema and loved it! Since the n I've watched Husbands and Wives, Annie Hall, To Rome With Love, Vicky Christina Barcelona and Whatever Works, but Midnight in Paris is still my favourite, I wanna watch it again!

I definitely wanna check out more of his films, what are your favourites?

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26-07-2013
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I like his old films. They were fantastic. Particularly "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask", It never gets old.

But to be honest i absolutely despise his new work, Vicky Christina Barcelona is without exaggeration one of the worst film i've ever seen. Up there with Swept away and The Passion of Christ. I had a spanish friend that when he wanted to make me cringe he would quote Barden's lines from the film. Woody should leave Europe alone, he does not understand it and his vision about it is as deep as an airport postcard. Cassandra's Dream and Match point are so utterly stupid that in a way they become unintentionally funny, but Vicky Christina Barcelona has absolutely no redeeming features. *rant over*.

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26-07-2013
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cloudyshambles it's very hard for me to pick favourites because in truth I like almost all of his work, but if I go by time periods as divided up in the first list I posted, I can single some of them out; here you go - My top picks of Woody over the ages (bold for best of the best) :

Play it Again Sam
Love & Death
Sleeper

Annie Hall
Manhattan

^ *these two are probably my all time faves
The Purple Rose of Cairo

Hannah and her Sisters
Another Woman
Crimes and Misdemeanours
Shadows and Fog
Husbands and Wives

Manhattan Murder Mystery
Bullets Over Broadway

^ *I love these two films a lot as well
Everyone Says I love You
Sweet & Lowdown

Small Time Crooks
Melinda and Melinda
Match Point
Scoop
Vicky Christina Barcelona (mainly for Cruz's performance)
Midnight in Paris

And I can't wait to see Blue Jasmine!!

__________________
Fashion: Don’t you recognize me? Death: You should know that I don’t see very well and I can’t wear glasses. Fashion: I’m Fashion, your sister. Death: My sister? Fashion: Yes. You and I together keep undoing and changing things down here on earth although you go about it in one way and I another. Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue Between Fashion and Death.”abridged

Last edited by Not Plain Jane; 26-07-2013 at 04:12 PM.
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A good NYTs article on the roles Woody Allen has written for women over the years, and why they've been so successful; Scarlett Johanson has some interesting things to say:

Quote:
Ladies' man: Why women love Woody

Dave Itzkoff
Published: July 27, 2013 - 3:00AM

Like many protagonists in Woody Allen's movies, the title character in his new film, Blue Jasmine, sometimes speaks with a familiar stammer and exhibits a telltale existential dread. But beyond that, she could hardly be more different from her creator.

Jasmine, a fallen New York socialite played by Cate Blanchett, is left emotionally brittle by the deceptions of her husband (Alec Baldwin), a philanderer and financial huckster. Having fled to San Francisco to start anew, she is oblivious to the calamities that have stripped her of her station. She continues to be obsessed with class, status and luxury brands, and knows how to pronounce the name Louis Vuitton for maximum annoyance.

For all the illusions torn away from her by the end of Blue Jasmine, a comedy-drama written and directed by Allen, she stands as his latest distinctive female character in a roster full of them.

In the span of more than 40 of Allen's films, including Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, strong and memorable women have become as much a hallmark of his movies as the venerable Windsor font in their credits. These are women who dominate and who are subjugated, who struggle and love and kvetch and fall apart, but they rarely conform to stereotypes. Jasmine may be deeply troubled, but at least she's deep. Yet almost nothing connects these characters - who have been played by actors including Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Scarlett Johansson and Penelope Cruz - except that they have sprung from the mind of the same filmmaker, one who professes no real insight into how he writes and casts his female characters, but remains confident he still knows how to create them.

''People have criticised me for being narcissistic,'' Allen says. ''People criticised me for being a self-hating Jew, that's come up. But not being able to create good women was not aimed at me very often.''

Allen may not wish to recall it, but his movies have also drawn charges of chauvinism and sexism by detractors who have said they frequently depicted women as neurotics, shrews and prostitutes.

This chorus reached a climax of sorts in the 1990s, when acerbic films such as Husbands and Wives and Deconstructing Harry were released, and he had his notorious break-up with his frequent co-star Mia Farrow, who discovered his relationship with her adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn, now Allen's wife. As the critic Steven Vineberg wrote in a 1998 essay, ''more and more, 'Woody' [Allen's onscreen persona] has taken on the uncomfortable role of apologist for Woody, whose woman problems are by now as well known as his movies.''

Still, Allen has continued to create a steady supply of substantial roles for women, often of ages unrecognised by Hollywood (that is, over 30). For successive generations of female actors, the opportunity to work in one of Allen's films has become a kind of career validation. And in the phase of his career that began with the 2005 release of Match Point, Allen has delved into female characters who are further removed from his familiar life experiences.

Johansson, who starred in Match Point, Scoop and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, writes in an email that Allen ''appreciates the versatility of the heroine, her ability to be both doe and lioness''.

''His openness to the possibility that a woman can be both hunter and hunted allows him to explore more deeply the complexity of the female spirit,'' she says.

Allen, 77, cannot immediately account for why women figure prominently in his work, except that, well, they interest him. ''They're attractive, they're complex, and the guys have never been portrayed superior to the women,'' he says. ''The guys are usually inferior, because they're less grounded than the women.''

That surely applies to the nebbish Allen often plays in his own films. But those closest to him say the filmmaker should not be confused with his awkward, unknowing onscreen alter ego.

''That's a role he can play easily,'' says Letty Aronson, Allen's sister and long-time producer. ''It's almost as if that's what people expect. They don't expect him to be a Cary Grant type.''

Allen credits his romantic relationship with Keaton, which began in the 1970s, with opening his eyes to the potential of female characters. In his earliest films, ''whether it was Bananas or Sleeper or Play It Again, Sam, whatever silly little thing, they were always from a male point of view'' - even Annie Hall, which begins with Alvy Singer speaking directly to the audience.

But when he started dating Keaton, Allen says, ''I started to appreciate her so much, personally and as an actress, that I started writing from the woman's point of view.'' In the movies that followed Annie Hall, the director says, it was ''always more comfortable for me to write women''.

As Keaton recalls, their relationship was not unlike Annie Hall, with Allen becoming both her partner and mentor, offering her an attentive ear and introducing her to Freudian analysis. ''I was constantly complaining about things and constantly had this low self-esteem,'' Keaton says, ''and had a tendency toward crying and worrying about why I wasn't good enough, and he took it.''

The surest sign that Allen was listening to her was when she read his script for Annie Hall (which Allen co-wrote with Marshall Brickman) and her character's voice sounded just like her.

In the years since, Allen has had little trouble casting the female actors he has wanted, landing Geraldine Page, Julia Roberts and Judy Davis, and helping earn Oscars for Wiest (a two-time winner, for Hannah and Her Sisters and Bullets over Broadway), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) and Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona).

If anything, Allen's practice of paying actors far less than they make on other films has driven away more men than women. ''We have no money and everyone knows it, and they think it's kind of humorous now,'' says Juliet Taylor, Allen's veteran casting director. ''There are people who have said, 'I just don't work for less than my price' - mostly American male movie stars.''

When she was a casting assistant on Bananas in 1971, Taylor recalls that ''when an actress would come in, the producer would talk to them because Woody was too shy''.

Today, ''many of his good friends are women'', she says. ''He is one of the guys who you can really sit and chat on the phone with for hours.''

Allen says his female characters sometimes spring from his own best guesses of how women might react in certain situations. ''Now this does not mean I feel it or think it accurately all the time,'' he says. ''I don't.'' But in the case of Jasmine, she was inspired by a woman he'd heard about from his wife.

This woman, Allen says, was ''a very high Upper East Side liver'' who ''had a precipitous drop and had to downsize radically''.

''She went from someone with charge accounts every place and a limitless amount of money, virtually, to someone who had to shop in bargain places and even get a job,'' he says.

Allen sensed the makings of classic tragedy. ''If there was some way that she brought it on herself, it could fulfil some of those Greek requirements,'' he says.

The Jasmine character may well invite further criticism of Allen's perspective on women, particularly whether there is something antiquated about the idea of a woman whose world is shattered when she loses her money and her man.

But Blanchett says she has known similar people.

''By circumstance or lack of confidence, their identity gets consumed by their partner,'' she says. ''Before they realise it, they've given away a lot of their autonomy and settled for security, and made a series of compromises.''

Though Blanchett played a similarly lost soul as Blanche DuBois in the Sydney Theatre Company's heralded production of A Streetcar Named Desire, she says Blue Jasmine more immediately reminded her of playing Shakespeare's Richard II, of ''that sense of falling from grace, the delusion, the interface between the role you're given and the one you're longing to inhabit''.

Having played the opposite sex in the film I'm Not There, Blanchett says she found a freedom in it that Allen might also take from writing women's roles.

''Often you can write more closely about your own perspective and experience of the world through a character of a different gender,'' she says.

Blanchett says she tried to suggest as much to Allen while working on a scene for Blue Jasmine. ''I said, 'How would you do this, Mr Allen?''' she recalls. ''And he said, 'Well, if I were playing the role …' and I turned to him with a backwards grin and said, 'You know, you could have played this role.'''

Allen paused and thought about it ''for a good minute and a half, and then he said, 'No, it would have been too comic.'''

Allen - who cast himself as Blanche DuBois and Keaton as Stanley Kowalski for a comic re-enactment of A Streetcar Named Desire in his film Sleeper - says he often yearns to play the kinds of women he writes, who are given licence to be ''emotional and sarcastic and flamboyant''.

''I always wanted to play those parts,'' he says. ''I always felt I could play them because I feel those kinds of things.''

Johansson affirms Allen has a feminine side in him that longs to break out.

''I believe Woody, at heart, would have been happiest to have been born as the classic opera diva,'' she says. ''He lives for dramatic flair, gossip, intrigue, crippling heartache and turmoil - just as long as it's happening to someone else.''

The New York Times

Blue Jasmine is in cinemas from September 5.

__________________
Fashion: Don’t you recognize me? Death: You should know that I don’t see very well and I can’t wear glasses. Fashion: I’m Fashion, your sister. Death: My sister? Fashion: Yes. You and I together keep undoing and changing things down here on earth although you go about it in one way and I another. Giacomo Leopardi, “Dialogue Between Fashion and Death.”abridged

Last edited by Not Plain Jane; 26-07-2013 at 05:17 PM.
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26-07-2013
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I haven't seen all his films, but he's one of my favorites. Also, while I don't always think he gets the women's POV right, I appreciate very much that he gives so many actresses roles of varying ages.

Thanks for linking that article NPJ. All hail Diane Keaton for influencing Woody in that way!

Ha! Cruz's performance is the only thing I hate about VCB.

What do I like about his films? The bohemian aspect. He celebrates artists, writers, lovers, beauty and places. I also like that, in small ways, he challenges gender roles. (Men being neurotic and needy while women are in charge, for example. Not every film, but quite a few.) I also love his weird wittiness. In some ways, it's almost pretentious and hipsterist, but I still like it. (I wonder how many have come away from his films with in interest in the authors and art mentioned.)

I don't like that he's incapable of showing POC. Does he think that no wealthy POC exist? I remember reading a Chris Rock interview a few years ago, and he said something like "Julie Delphy offered me a role in her film '2 Days in New York.' I was so honoured she thought of me. It's the closest I've ever get to doing a Woody Allen film." Since then, I've been looking at the cast of his films, and they are white-casted. Which is annoying.

When I've seen more of his films, I'll be able to say which are favorites and what I think are his best. I've only seen around 5-9 so far.

His contribution right now? Hmmm. Well, what I like about his films is that they feature dysfunctional characters, but the angst/weirdness isn't the be-all-end-all of the film. I love indie movies, but I'm so annoyed that so many of them think they have to do the "special snowflake surrounded by quirky family" trope. Or the Sofia Coppola trope: I'm a special snowflake caught in a world of normal people" (I call it hers, but tons of indie filmmakers do it too). His films are unique, they are art house, but no one will ever confuse 'Midnight in Paris' with 'Juno' or 'Easy A.'

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^ Agree about the POC critique wild roses - great post. You have a lot of Woody to watch.

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26-07-2013
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Of the films listed, I've seen about 8 of them, from varying periods. I plan on watching Match Point and PROC next though. (By next, probably September cuz right now I'm marathoning a TV show...)

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27-07-2013
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How odd I was about to post about woody allen on a thread! I have just watched an extended cut I believe of the Woody Allen documentary that was made in 2012, it was very interesting for myself as I have seen only a couple of his films, but now I am planning to watch all of them, so I can get a full opinion on the range of all of his work! I would recommend you all watching it, though I watched it on the BBC I-player website and I am unsure if it works outside of England where I live. But if it hopefully does here are the links, it is in 2 parts

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...tary_Part_One/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode...tary_Part_Two/

Anyway my favourite so far in contrast to some of you guys is Vicky Christina Barcelona. I have always had this fantasy of an artistic bohemian lifestyle in Spain and I was really blown away by the locations and cinematography, the acting , even the narrator I really liked. The other film that I loved was Play it Again Sam, It is so hilarious but so awkwardly funny it is almost unbearable to watch!
The other films I have seen are Annie Hall, which really oddly I did not love. I mean I did not hate it, but strangely I just could not get affected by it compared to most people. I really did like some of the scenes though and I respect him a lot for opening the door for the more mature romantic drama/comedy film genera to the mainstream audience. I guess I had such expectations before I watched it that when I finished it without feeling fully captivated, I was disappointed. But I would definitely would watch it again in the future.

The other films I have watched are Manhattan, Midnight in Paris, Match Point, You will meet a tall dark stranger and I am right now in the middle of watching Purple rose of Cairo. I have just ordered though my Dad a 20 disc Woody Allen Box-set for his birthday next week, so I am excited to watch much more of his earlier work.

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28-07-2013
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His films are hit or miss for me. I've always summed them up as "Rich White people talking -- a lot." I liked Husbands and Wives. Match Point seemed a little different from his norm. A lot of his new stuff like Midnight in Paris is, like I said- rich White people talking a a lot.

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28-07-2013
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Razzer thanks for the links! They don't work for me, but that same documentary is also available on Netflix (here in Canada at least), and you're right - it's excellent. I also really liked the documentary that follows his musician hobby: Wildman Blues.

loladonna, Woody does often deal with upper or middle-upper class characters; it's true. But he's dealt with a number of lower or lower-middle class characters throughout his career too.

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Last edited by Not Plain Jane; 28-07-2013 at 02:49 PM.
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29-07-2013
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great thread, NPJ. i too love Woody's films. bravo!

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30-07-2013
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I'm a fan also. Will be going to Blue Jasmine later next month when it gets to my city.

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01-08-2013
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Here's a new article I read with quotes from the Woodster throughout:
Quote:
latimes.com

'Blue Jasmine': Woody Allen on regrets - He's had a few

Ahead of the release of his new movie, 'Blue Jasmine,' Woody Allen ponders choices made and their consequences, in his characters' lives and his own.

By Mark Olsen

9:51 AM PDT, July 11, 2013


NEW YORK — Does Woody Allen have regrets?

His new film, "Blue Jasmine," amplifies the air of concentrated self-examination that has long been a hallmark of his work. Though marked by buoyant moments of wry humor, the film is devastating in its intense survey of a life in the free fall of mental and emotional collapse. Cate Blanchett gives a tour-de-force performance as a wealthy New Yorker who discovers that her husband has built their fortune through fraud. After losing everything, she winds up with her decidedly more downscale sister in San Francisco, left to sift through the remains of her life.

Opening July 26, "Blue Jasmine" finds Allen further exploring a thematic conceit that has been percolating through his recent movies since at least the dual stories of 2005's "Melinda and Melinda," as in film after film he has been pondering a series of existential what-ifs.

In 2010's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger," Josh Brolin played an unhappily married man who became obsessed with what his life would be like with a woman in the apartment across the way. In the 2011 smash hit "Midnight In Paris" — for which Allen won the Oscar for original screenplay, his fourth — Owen Wilson stepped from modern day into the Jazz Age, imagining it as better than his own time. In "To Rome With Love," Alec Baldwin played a man who seems to meet a younger version of himself in Jesse Eisenberg.

Whether in a comedic or dramatic mode, these films are all structured around a reflective, ruminative mood, as if Allen has been looking back on his celebrated, knotty life and examining the forks in the road.

"I would say, I've lived 77 years now, and there have been things in my life that I regret that if I could do over, I would do different," Allen said in a recent interview that found him in a warm mood on a cold, late-spring afternoon. "Many things that I think with the perspective of having done them and having time that I would do differently. Maybe even choice of profession. Many things.

"But I think if you ask anybody that's honest about it, there has to be a number of choices they've made in their life that they wished they'd made the other choice. They wished they had bought the house or didn't buy the house, or didn't marry the girl or did. So I have plenty of regrets. And I never trust people who say, 'I have no regrets. If I lived my life again, I'd do it exactly the same way.' I wouldn't."

-

Allen has worked for nearly 40 years in a modest suite of rooms on the ground floor of the type of politely upscale Upper East Side apartment building many know only from Woody Allen movies.

Off a bustling thoroughfare, past two doormen and down a tastefully appointed hallway, one finds a nondescript door with a small, unremarkable sign. Through that door is a rather cramped anteroom filled with cardboard boxes and a second, slightly shabbier door. Through there is a cluttered workroom with doors leading off in various directions. Somewhere behind there is Woody Allen. He is looking for a cough drop.

It is in this former bridge club that Allen casts his films and edits them, seeing to the unglamorous workaday details of moviemaking. He recalled when he once visited the offices of Martin Scorsese, just a few blocks away, "You would have thought that it was the law firm of Scorsese and John Foster Dulles" by comparison with his own "sleazy little operation." He is quick to add, "I really don't need anything more."

Allen has maintained a startling work rate, making in essence one film a year for going on 35 years. At times it can be frustrating to keep up with his output, and there can be something haphazard about his prolificacy. This may be why "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" struggles to make $3 million in the U.S. one year and "Midnight in Paris" brings in nearly $57 million the next.

Allen's relentless pace, his craftsman's regularity rob his films of the event feeling a new work by a Scorsese or Spielberg are often met with, as if he is purposefully trying to lower expectations. Films that seem undercooked on first glance gain resonance over time, while other films lose their initial impact. Though never to be counted out entirely, Allen makes it easy to overlook any single film for the ongoing rush. In a way, it can be as if he doesn't entirely get them all either.

"I don't know why they like one and not another," he said of the surprise audience response to "Midnight" compared with his other recent films. "If I could figure it out, I might be able to get rich."

"Blue Jasmine" is, by Allen's own speculation, less likely to find such a broad audience due to its serious, dramatic nature. The film's structure finds Blanchett's character reflecting upon moments from her past, looking for clues to her own downfall, creating a deep emotional resonance. She gives in some sense two performances, one as the fine society lady and the other as someone at moments akin to a babbling street crazy in a Chanel jacket.

The film also has Allen's typical deep bench of supporting performers, with strong turns by Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay. No character is quite as they first seem, some revealing themselves to be deeper and more emotionally sensitive while others turn out shallow and self-serving.

The in-built joke of casting the rough-hewn Clay in a heady Woody Allen film, and in a pivotal, dramatic role no less, was certainly not lost on the actor. Clay recalled that when his manager first let him know Allen had reached out, his response was, "Woody Allen's calling for me? That's the last guy I ever thought would call for me. I thought it was like an April Fool's joke."

The film will likely draw comparisons to the story of Ruth Madoff, wife of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff. Though Allen downplays the connection, Blanchett did do some research into their story, as well as other society doyens deposed by the economic collapse.

"I followed that story in the paper like everyone else, but it was not an influence in any way on the movie," Allen said of the Madoff story, while noting that he was inspired by something his wife, Soon-Yi Previn, told him of a high-society woman who had to take a job after losing her wealth.

Perhaps what drew him to the idea was an opportunity to look at the all-too-human weakness for self-delusion, the ways in which we all often have to convince ourselves of lies big and small to make it through the day and press on with our lives.

Though the two never did have a conversation regarding the big ideas of the film, Blanchett picked up a clue from an off-the-cuff comment by Allen.

On the phone from Sydney, Australia, where she has been appearing onstage in Jean Genet's "The Maids," Blanchett recalled, "He wouldn't even remember saying it, but he said something along the lines of, 'We all know the same truth, and that our lives consist of how we choose to distort it.'"

Allen prefers not to think of his work as some sort of veiled autobiography or a series of extended notes on the human condition. Perhaps belying his roots as a teenage joke-writer and early work as a nightclub comedian, he sees his goals as far more modest.

"I'm thinking of entertaining," he says of what motivates his writing. "That I feel is my first obligation. Then, if you can also say something, make a statement or elucidate a character or create emotions in people where they're sad or laughing, that's all extra. But to make a social point or a psychological point without being entertaining is homework. That's lecturing."

While his recent films have seen him traipsing across Europe, shooting in London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome – and he has just begun production on a film in the South of France – Allen saw "Blue Jasmine" as a distinctly American story. New York was an obvious location for a film touching on a financial scandal, but his choice of San Francisco as the film's second location, home to the character of Blanchett's sister played by Hawkins, came down to where he thought he could spend a comfortable summer.

"Her sister could have lived anyplace and it would have been fine. I couldn't live anyplace, that was the problem," he said.

Allen is notoriously hands-off as a director, with apocryphal stories of his meeting performers for only a few minutes during casting and then barely speaking to them during production. Yet having directed six Oscar-winning performances, he must be doing something right. As far as his leading lady, he said, "I mean, she's Cate Blanchett, what can you do? You hire her and get out of the way."

Though he is prone to referencing old-guard art house stalwarts such as Bergman, Fellini or Kurosawa, Blanchett compares him to filmmakers she has worked with such as David Fincher, Jim Jarmusch, Wes Anderson or Steven Soderbergh, framing him as a contemporary working filmmaker in a way his legend often precludes. Since Blanchett and Allen had never worked together, part of her preparation was to speak with other actors who had worked with him and to study the 2011 "American Masters" documentary on him.

"Frankly, I thought he thought I was awful for the bulk of the film," Blanchett admitted, noting that for her the breakthrough came when she realized it wasn't her, it was him.

"Once you realize that Woody is never pleased, he is never satisfied, that's why he makes a film a year, that's why he's so prolific as a filmmaker," she said. "You realize he is actually in some exquisite agony and it's horrific for him often to hear what he's written. It's as much to do with himself as the actors and once you don't take that personally, I really relished the frankness."

-

Allen acknowledged one unintended consequence of his prolific output is that his films almost exist in some way outside of his control. Likening the process to a series of sessions of psychoanalysis, he said, unconsciously recurrent themes emerge over years of work.

With its structure that teeters between the problems of the past and the struggles of the present, "Blue Jasmine" grapples directly with the twined difficulties of looking back and moving forward, and how we can all become an unreliable narrator to ourselves.

"I think I was always reflective," he noted, "I think that may have been a strength and a weakness. Early on, going as far back as 'Annie Hall,' there are all these cerebral characters talking about life, thinking about death, thinking about the meaning of life, thinking about why relationships didn't work, always thinking and verbalizing their thoughts, always reflecting.

"I think I'm no more reflective now," he added with a slight giggle, "at death's door. But you do get conscious of it. But I was conscious of aging at 14."

So if he could go back, by the way, what other profession might he have chosen?

"I might have been happier if I was a novelist," he replied. "So instead of having to raise millions of dollars to put on these stories, the novelist sits at home; you write, if you don't like it you throw it away. If I throw something away, I'm throwing away $100,000 every time I take a scene out. So that might have been a better thing. Or music might have been a better thing."

He seemed to be opening up now, genuinely taking stock of his life and career and looking down roads not taken.

"If I really can go back, early, early, early in my life" — and here he clasped his hands together and pulled them back as the windup to one final curveball — "maybe a ballet dancer."

Woody Allen — perhaps joking, perhaps not — exists, you might say, at the very intersection of the two, a playful showman amid uncompromising self-examination. As supporting evidence for either case, he added, "I was a very athletic kid."

mark.olsen@latimes.com

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