Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Who is Woody Allen?

The other day I saw a trailer of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" which showed under the name of its director, and in small letters within parenthesis, "Scoop".

"Scoop" is one of the most unnecessary movies by Woody Allen. If this was the only one movie directed by him or by anyone else, such director could be considered absolutely irrelevant. If one really needs to give examples of what Woody Allen is and has done, one could write (maybe within parethesis but not in small letters) "Annie Hall", "The Purple Rose of Cairo", "Mighty Afrodite" or something as excellent as that. Not "Scoop".

But maybe it makes sense that "Scoop" is mentioned: the trailer of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona", or the movie itself, might be meant for the kind of audience who had enjoyed "Scoop" and wants to see something along the same vein. Then, the trailer reveals the type of public the movie is directed at. (And maybe the movie was, from the beginning of its creation, targeted to that public, or maybe only after it was done someone realized who the target was).

Now, the thing is: who is Woody Allen? Is he the director of movies like "Scoop", or is he the director of movies like "Deconstructing Harry"? Or: who Woody Allen wants to be? The thing is, and above all, Woody Allen is the excellent artist of "Manhattan" and "Bullets over Broadway" BUT he is also the responsible for such things as "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" and, well, "Scoop". We and Woody all have to live with this: it is the same director who has done the excellent and the unnecessary and, true, he has done too many movies, movies that are drowned by their own quantity, movies that are diluted by the great quality of other ones. And who does he want to be? Well, he already is, and he is what he has allways been.

But it is precisely that he is such a persona, an artistic one, that there is not or there shouldn't be any need to make a reference to some of his titles: Woody Allen period should be enough. Just like Almodóvar: the title of his new film is stated and, underneath it, "Almodóvar": no need for further explanation, no need for a past (or the last) title, not even the need for "Pedro". "Almodóvar" and "Almodóvar" only, just like Machiavel (who remembers his name?), just like Michelangelo.

Woody Allen. Period.

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