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Entries in Woody Allen (2)


Great Moments in American Prudery

Speaking of Woody Allen, a post from the inimitable Adam Lisagor sent me to PBS looking to catch the American Masters documentary while it was still online. Alas, the window had already closed. I did not torrent the film and watch it; I deny that strenuously. Anyway, it is excellent, but what I wanted to say was that while on the PBS page I made the mistake of scrolling down and grazing on the comments (which is a mistake almost regardless of the site, the topic, or the phase of the moon, but, come on, in this case I really should have known better). Leaving aside all the other excellent arguments—including the one that says we’d all do better to just mind our own business—can we not, finally, dispense with the poisonous accusations of pedophilia? The woman is 41 years old, and has been his wife for 14 years. That this still passes in some apparently indefatigable quarters for pedophilia must have Humbert Humbert rolling in his grave.

Also excellent, and shorter: Woody Allen’s Fresh Air interview from last summer. It is sad, I suppose, that he is so guarded, so closed, even with as sympathetic and graceful an interviewer as Terry Gross. Still, it’s nice to hear him speaking in his own voice; it is a useful tonic against the tendency to imagine he and Alvy Singer are the same person. Note that it is only his delivery that turns Alvy’s line, “I was all-schoolyard” into a joke; with Gross, he is at pains to insist that he really was all-schoolyard, and we believe him.


Midnight In Paris

If Match Point, Woody Allen’s last really fine picture1, was just Crimes and Misdemeanours transposed an octave younger, Midnight in Paris is a variation worthy of a Bach fugue, in which the theme of The Purple Rose of Cairo is played, as it were, inside-out. The stars align on this one: the whimsy is unforced, the cast is in perfect tune, and the script’s treatment of nostalgia, anachronism, and the ambivalent consolations of art is subtle without being clever, more wise than wiseacre. God, I sound like I’m trying to get into The New Yorker’s Goings On About Town. Playing through Thursday at the Wiltshire, East 32nd Street. Or whatever. Good flick, though, is all I’m saying.

Excepting, possibly, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which I haven’t seen.