Friday, May 14, 2010

Woody Allen: a life in movies

For more than 40 years, Woody Allen has been one of the most controversial filmmakers. Adored by his fans and hated by his critics, his movies are like his personal diary. Whether it’s a comedy or a drama, Woody includes his personal view of the world in every film, his obsessions, his phobias, the things that make him happy, the things he hates… each one works as a volume of Woody’s encyclopedia.

In his beginnings, Woody was a writer and also a stand-up comedian. His directing career started in the late 60s, has never stopped since, and it is likely that he will make movies until his death. He has gone through different stages, from his early comedies full of gags with a moderate commercial success (Take the Money and Run, Bananas) to deep drama (September, Stardust Memories), influenced by Bergman. The question is: which is the film that identifies him most? If we would ask this question to Woody, he will probably refuse to answer. But let’s name a few possible answers:

Annie Hall (1977): commercially and critically acclaimed, Annie Hall is considered one of his masterpieces. Starring Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane and Woody himself, it chronicles the hazardous relationship between Annie and Alvy Singer (Woody’s neurotic character. It was originally titled Anhedonia (a psychoanalytic term for the inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable life events).

Manhattan (1979): another classic of Woody’s filmography, this romantic comedy pays tribute to his beloved New York City and its inhabitants. Keaton and Allen play the main characters again, plus Michael Murphy and a young Mariel Hemingway.

Deconstructing Harry (1997): after his crisis with Mia Farrow, Woody gets rid of his ghosts with this film about an author and his complicated relationships with friends, family and life. Woody plays the main character, accompanied by an all-star cast.

Melinda and Melinda (2005): Woody wrote and directed but didn’t act in this movie that mixes two story lines, one comic and one tragic. It received mixed reviews from critics.

We are not saying these are Woody’s best works, but they may be the ones that his represent persona best. However, we will be glad to hear any other suggestions. And don’t forget to visit, where you can purchase our new Woody Allen T-shirt.


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