So lately I’ve been watching a lot of films. And by a lot of films, I mean mainly films by Woody Allen. I figured that since I’m off for the holidays, I might as well take this time to read, draw, paint, catch up on some films, and of course contribute to my blog as much as I possibly can.
I’ve always heard about Woody Allen, and seen pictures of him, but I had never really watched any of his films before, until now. I might have in the past, but I guess I never really paid attention to how incredibly brilliant and talented he was. I honestly feel like I totally missed out! His films are the types of films I’ve always longed for, due to their sheer pragmatism. I mean not only does he write his own scripts, but he also directs them too! I admit I am not a movie buff for I prefer reading books over watching films, because most of the stuff that comes out, in the theatres, these days disappoint me. Hollywood, in general, disappoints me. It’s starting to lose depth, and the films are becoming more and more cliché, which is something I simply loathe. My husband, the darling that he is, often tells me that I should watch these films just for the sake of entertainment. However, being a critic by nature, I can’t help but be over critical and analytical at times, and get frustrated with the unrealistic images, the tired and repetitive storylines, the plastic-looking actors and actresses, and the dull, unintelligent dialogues. I mean, come on, really, are these people for real? People, in REAL life, hardly look that perfect (complete with abs and six packs), or have the perfect-ending to their lives! And this is what bothers me the most: why does everything has to have a happy ending? For once, just for once, I’d love to see a non-clichéd ending! But alas, that will never happen because Hollywood won’t be Hollywood anymore.
However, there is something very, very endearing, yet dark, about Woody Allen’s films. They are often very “novel-like” and one immediately gets sucked into the characters and the storyline. His characters are hardly perfect, or perfect-looking, perhaps not so much in his recent films, but more so in his older films. I am not saying that the actresses he chooses to cast are ugly, no, FAR from it. But they are no super models either. In fact, they are very natural-looking, with little or no makeup, independent, and often very intelligent women, which in turn makes them incredibly beautiful. I can tell that Woody Allen is pro-feminism, because I have yet to see a woman in his films feeling helpless without a man. As a matter of fact, the women in his films are usually depicted as independent and strong; and having the upper hand in relationships. I am not saying that Woody Allen devalues men in his films, as a matter of fact, I’d say that he gives both women and men equal status and portrayal; but the fact that the women are portrayed as autonomous is indeed refreshing!
Furthermore, the thing I adore most about his films is the dialogue and the humour, which is witty and brilliant, especially when he, as the protagonist, delivers them. One can easily tell that he is clearly a skeptic. And an intellectual. And an Atheist. His films clearly depict his true personality, his philosophical views on life, religion, love, relationships, and humanity as a whole. I’ve noticed that most of his films heavily deal with the issue of infidelity and failed marriages. I know many people would see this as being repetitive and perhaps even negative, but I don’t see it that way because, despite his films dealing with such issues, it is never clichéd even if it has a happy ending. There is always some kind of twist that the viewer least expects. And this is something I love; this “unexpectedness” in his films.
I also deeply admire him as an actor. He is very charming and funny. He pretty much acts and looks exactly the same in all his movies. His main character (usually played by him) is often portrayed as either an intellectual or a complete dud, who is struggling to bring depth and meaning to his life. And most of his films usually take place in Manhattan – one of my most favourite cities in the world! I guess since he was born and raised there, he feels a deep sense of belonging there. One can obviously tell he adores New York City; and hey, can’t say I blame him!
Anyway, it is incredibly uplifting to know that there are directors like Woody Allen, who still make tasteful, artsy movies that individuals like me enjoy very, very much! His films are a breath of fresh air for me, because they are unconventional and original. However, with his more recent films, he mainly writes and directs them, and rarely acts in them anymore, which is quite a shame because I love seeing him on screen. It would be such a major honour to meet this intelligent and gifted man some day. But until then, I am now a devoted fan and plan to watch every single film of his, until I get back to work exactly a week from now.
In the meantime, I’d like to recommend some of his films that I’ve watched (more than once, mind you), thus far:
- Annie Hall (1977)
- Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
- Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989)
- Manhattan (1979)
- Husbands and Wives (1992)
- Interiors (1989)
- Another Woman (1988)
- Small Time Crooks (2000)
- Manhatten Murder Mystery (1993)
- Take the Money and Run (1969)
And these are a couple movies that he mainly wrote and directed, but didn’t star in:
- Match Point (2005)
- Whatever Works (2009)