A 90-minute documentary by film critic, author and historian Richard Schickel that is highlighted by a rare and candid interview with the writer, director and actor Woody Allen. The interview, shot exclusively for this documentary in New York in October 2001, marks the first time Allen has participated in an American documentary about his career. The program examines Allen's work on such landmark films as "Take the Money and Run" (1969), "Bananas" (1971), "Sleeper" (1973), "Love and Death" (1975), "Annie Hall" (1977), "Manhattan" (1979), "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986) and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989). The interview and film clips, including scenes from his most recent film at the time the interview was filmed, "Hollywood Ending," are used to highlight his prolific career and examine Allen's childhood and explore what drew him to writing and directing. One of the foremost American filmmakers of the 20th century, Allen shares anecdotes about his extensive body of work from the past... Written by
Mia Farrow demanded that no footage of herself be included in the documentary, not wanting to be further associated with Woody Allen in any way, since their bitter separation. Other than a few shots, her wish was obliged by the filmmakers. See more »
Fascinating, surprising, insightful look at a great artist and his movies
My affection for Woody Allen has grown over the years. With "Crimes and Misdemeanors," I thought it had peaked, and then I saw "Match Point" and became convinced that he is not only brilliant but still has plenty to say. In this interview, Woody Allen had some interesting things to relate about his films and his own ideas: He believes in luck, as the character in "Match Point" does; he believes, as he shows in "Bullets Over Broadway," that great artists are born and not made; we're all out here on our own and our morality, as in "Crimes and Misdemeanors," is dependent on what we can live with; and he's been doing Bob Hope all these years, though by his own admission, not as well. None of this is very shocking (except maybe the Bob Hope part, until he demonstrates it in a film clip), given the messages in many of his movies.
The surprising thing in "Woody Allen: A Life in Film" is his very normal, non-neurotic demeanor, his view of his own films as to what is successful and what isn't, and what moved him to tell the stories he has.
If you're a fan of Allen's, you won't want to miss this. No matter how he may shrug his narrow shoulders, his evolution as a filmmaker has been something to behold.
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