Renowned filmmaker Sandy Bates is in a professional transition, directing largely comedies early in his career now wanting to direct more serious movies so that he can explore the meaning of life, most specifically his own. Most are fighting him all along the way, including the movie going public, who continually tell him that they love his movies especially the earlier funny ones, to studio executives who are trying to insert comic elements wherever possible into his current movie in production. He reluctantly agrees to attend a weekend long film festival of his movies. Despite the throng of requests for his time, he is further able to reflect on his life as he addresses the questions at the post screening Q&A sessions. He also reflects specifically on his love life as his current girlfriend, married Isobel, shows up unexpectedly, and as he starts to fall for festival attendee Daisy - at the festival with her Columbia professor boyfriend, Jack Abel - who reminds him of Dorrie, a ... Written by
It's funny, because in my family nobody ever committed suicide, nobody... this was just not a middle-class alternative, you know? I - my mother was too busy running the boiled chicken through the deflavorizing machine to think about shooting herself or anything.
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Only a filmmaking genius like Woody Allen could bring such viable characters to the screen with such life and perception. Allen (who also scripted) is Sandy Bates, an acclaimed, world-reknowned director who attends a weekend festival honoring his works. When he's not being bombarded by mobs of autograph hounds and PR people, he takes time to reflect on himself and the three diverse women in his life: drug-abusing actress Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling), wistful violinist Daisy (Jessica Harper, who also appeared in Allen's "Love and Death" (1975)) and French housewife Isobel (Academy Award-nominee Marie-Christine Barrault). Loaded with the crisp dialogue that we've come to expect from Allen (Best line: "I would trade that Oscar for one more second of life"), "Stardust Memories" is noticably one of Allen's most personal films. Also, what makes "SM" unlike his other works, where his characters do a lot of interacting, the film's focus is mainly on Allen (most beautifully) interacting with himself mentally. Sharon Stone has a bit part in the beginning as a train passenger. Gordon Willis' cinematography is gorgeous. ***1/2 of ****.
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