“I watched this engaging film with a great big smile on my face. I don’t think anyone with any love for Allen, or the cinema, could fail to do anything else.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Phillip French says in The Observer: “Allen is in fine, funny, frank, self-disparaging form, there are fascinating revelations on every aspect of his life, well-chosen extracts from his films and TV interviews, and a glimpse of that Olympia typewriter, a German model, on which he has tapped out every word he’s written since he bought it as a teenager some 60 years ago. Has any instrument since Shakespeare’s quill been the conduit of more pleasure to mankind? It’s a film not to be missed.”
Condensing a 3 hour two-parter made for PBS by director Robert Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) to a scant 2 hours for cinema release would seem to offer insufficient time to cover the incomparable Allen, but it delivers, and richly! There’s something for everyone here. For newcomers to his diverse work, there is first-hand insight into his unique creative process from muses such as Diane Keaton (Annie Hall), Mariel Hemingway (Manhattan) and Scarlett Johansson (Vicky Cristina Barcelona). Allen devotees get a rare opportunity to see the 76-year-old Oscar winner stroll around his old neighbourhood, pointing out his favourite childhood haunts and candidly reflecting on his career highs and lows. The film is chock full of satisfying nuggets such as, ”I never write down to them [his audience]. I always assume that they’re all as smart as I am… if not smarter.” and Allen’s tireless work ethic and raw passion for cinema form the emotional crux of this exceptional documentary portrait.
To give you a chance to revisit just a few gems from Allen’s diverse filmography, we are offering a small Woody Allen Festival on succesive Sundays in July. Look out for Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters and Manhattan; some of our favourites. Let us know which of your favourites we have missed out!