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Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple directs this documentary portrait of Academy Award and Golden Globe-winner Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Blue Jasmine), seen traveling with friends and fellow musicians during their New Orleans jazz band's 1996 European tour. Allen's relationship with wife Soon Yi Previn is captured on film here for the first time, and others on the European jaunt include Allen's sister Letty Aronson. Followed by press, paparazzi, and gushing admirers, Allen returns home to face a more realistic critical assessment during "the lunch from hell" with his aged parents. Written by
[On why he likes playing blues]
There's nothing there between you and the pure feeling of playing. There's no cerebral part to it.
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Subtitles credit Letty Aronson and Soon-Li Previn. The band members are credited orally by Woody Allen as he introduces them to an audience. Allen himself is credited by marquees during the trip. See more »
4 Oscars on his shelf and a great legacy as comedian and filmmaker that goes for more than five decades Woody Allen doesn't need to prove his geniality to anyone. Talented director, actor, writer and very creative, and at times surrounded by some controversial but still a genius. Barbara Kopple's documentary "Wild Man Blues" brings us a little more closer to the man who has an very enthusiastic passion for jazz, playing the clarinet with his jazz band, reason why he never attended the Academy Awards (he only went in 2002 to make a tribute to New York) or any other awards show.
Following Woody along with Soon-Yi, we have the pleasure to watch the director of classics like "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Bullets over Broadway" on a tour in Europe doing what he likes the most, playing music, showing his skills with the clarinet (and he's a good player by the way) entertaining audiences with the old New Orleans jazz (and boy, he got some really big crowds to his shows, treated like a rock star).
More than just the tour, this is an intimate portrait of Woody Allen, his life and his work, his views on music and films, his relation with Soon-Yi, and even a family breakfast with Woody's parents. There's plenty of space and time to enjoy his hobby and watch the man making jokes all the time, at times a little depressed or a little bit cranky but never being snob or arrogant as some of his written interviews tend to sound. Some shocking revelations such as the fact of Soon-Yi watched all of Woody's films except "Annie Hall"; or when Woody discussed about getting a Life Achievement Award by the DGA when Fellini never got one, he (and us) can't understand that.
Greater than all that is his jokes whatever the occasion, talking about the people he sees on the way ("They won't pay ten cents to see one of my movies, but passing in a gondola, they love it.") or talking to Soon-Yi about the concierge of the luxury hotel they stayed in. It's delightful to see when he talks about the films that failed at box-office in America but are a huge hit all over Europe ("Interiors", "Another Woman", and others). And if you pay attention to his opinions you'll see that most of them will be referred in his future films e.g. when he says about suffering of chronic dissatisfaction. He quoted that in "Vicky Cristina Barcleona". Or the way he richly describes Paris, place where he would make the film that gave his 4th Oscar this year, "Midnight in Paris". It's all there!
Entertainment and reality at its best, "Wild Man Blues" allows us to know a little better about the creator of cinematic masterpieces, presenting the man in a different way than we're used to see (ok, he's less neurotic than the characters he play). Have fun! 10/10
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