Monday, July 16, 2012

Woody Allen: A Documentary

Last night I watched the two part Woody Allen: A Documentary, available on Watch Instantly.

This film includes lots of wonderful footage from the early days of Allen's career, as well as interviews with him now and interviews with people who have worked with him, some who have worked with him his entire career.  Mostly it focused on his artistic process and development, and chronologically covered the majority of his films. It spent more time chronicling his creative transitions and choices in his early works, and moved more quickly through the 80s and after. It did a good job bringing out the unique strengths of some of these movies, and I am soon going to have to see again: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Match Point (some of my favorites, not to forget Love and Death, Zelig and Stardust Memories).

Some things that stood out was his constant engagement with new work and his devoted writing process. He has been using the same manual typewriter his entire career, and has stacks of notes that include sketches and ideas. Very old school. As for his obsession with death, he stated: "We all know the same truth, and our lives consist of how we distort it."

I would have liked the documentary to explore his personal life more, and the relationship between that and his creative live; particularly, of course, I wanted to hear what he had to say about the Soon Yi thing, but the short section devoted to that focused on his reaction to the publicity at the time the scandal broke.

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