Friday, June 24, 2011

Profile of a Director

WOODY ALLEN: How much do I love you or..... do I?

It has been almost a year since I have Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008) on my Hard Drive. I finally saw it yesterday and I started a familiar Battle with myself? Do I like Woody Allen or not? Few days ago, I saw Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) on Netflix. I will call it a typical woody allen film which usually I wouldn’t appreciate much but somehow I liked it and now this…typical long discussions about existential realism and fashionable pessimism.. I don’t even know the meanings of these words…But somehow all in all I liked that film too.
First Woody Allen movie I saw was Every Thing You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask (1972). I saw it on TV. I don’t have much to talk about it since I done even remember most of it and I definitely didn’t know it was a Woody Allen movie then. Though 1 impression it made in my mind was it is different. See, from the very first movie I was confused about what do I think of him. I knew it was different but I did not know it was good different or bad different. Off course, I was too inexperienced then to make any judgment.
Then came Mighty Aphrodite (1995). Let me tell you that I am a firm believer that some Films are made for Classes and Some for Masses and I don’t think this one is for everyone. I don’t think everyone can enjoy this movie. I definitely don’t belong to the classes yet but it sure had me intrigued. It again was different and this time I was determined to get to know this character: Woody Allen. My next stop was Match Point (2005) and Scoop (2006). In my humble opinion, Match Point is one film which is though still trademark Allen film, anyone can easily like it and so does scoop. Definitely my Favorite of the lot, especially for an amazing ending. Murder mystery with Scarlett Johansson – I am In.
And then I saw Annie Hall (1977) and Manhatten(1979). The films after which, everyone started to take Allen seriously, made him a phenomena he is now. You will see everything Woody Allen has become known for in these movies. In every sense, these are Trademark Woody Movies or rather these movies made that mark for others to follow. But after watching so many movies, somewhere his often-caustic misanthropy, half-comic fear of death and getting lost in pipe-dreams of the past feels so unreal, so over the top… And I do get the humour in it but it’s too crude for me. May be I am too young or too naïve to understand it or maybe I lack that formal education about films which might make me appreciate them. In his terms all these cerebral issues are too pseudo-intellectual for me (I still don’t really understand the meaning of these words). I don’t really care about these grandiose philosophical issues.
And there was Crimes and Misdemeanors(1989). For me it is a mash-up of Annie Hall and Match Point. Central story of Martin Landau and him plotting murder of his mistress holds really good(though casting of Angelica Houston is terrible). Even those typical long and heavy discussions feel right at place since we are looking at much serious plot here. But I don't get why Woody Allen had to put himself in? There is nothing wrong with the storyline and it is even good but it is completely redundant to the central story. It is kinda two parallel stories going on which somehow he brings together in the end. I would have loved this movie same completely without Woody Allen part of it.

I once read somewhere that before making your opinion about anything, read 5 things good about them and read 5 things bad about them and then make your own opinion about it. Unfortunately, here I have seen around 8-10 films of Woody Allen but yet I am not sure where does any of these films belong to and I am still eagerly waiting for Midnight in Paris(2011). My main problem is with the way they are presented. If I can get over them, I generally like them. But it seems unfair to ignore one of the most important aspects of film making. You see my dilemma here? Can someone please help?

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