The Women, The Words, His World & His Work.

Yesterday I sat in my favourite Picture House and watched a documentary about my favourite film maker and writer. Robert B. Weide’s highly anticipated documentary, Woody Allen: A Documentary rolled in front of me and I drifted away for two hours into my favourite world. Now, it is hard to review a documentary that was never going to let me down. I would have overlooked poor structure or lack of depth if it meant watching Woody Allen being interviewed for such a vast period of time. However, I was very pleased that the documentary explored countless elements of the ‘Woody world’. From his biography, to his public persona and questionable private life, the documentary approached and uncovered many different parts of Allen’s work and life. His style of writing, his approach to writing, his comical intent and his cinematic progression over the years were all studied intensely and it turned out to be a highly respectable piece of work.

Now, the greatest biographical documentary I have ever seen is Scorsese’s mesmerising George Harrison: Living in the Material World. A work of such utter devotion and precision that it left even me, a complete stranger to the world of Harrison and The Beatles, in utter adoration of Scorsese and his ability. Sadly, Weide’s project did not reach these heights of beauty but he has still managed to produce a piece of work with a meaning and a message. Although Allen’s private life was addressed at many different points, for example his marriage to Mia Farrow came under study for a significant part of the film, the documentary did not sink into gossipy or over-dramatised tones. All of his relationships and struggles were addressed and considered in terms of the places he explored in his films, due to them. The film looks at his experiences with love and loss and how this has shaped his knowledge of the subject. Allen’s films are about real people facing real struggles, however wacky the scenario.

Farrow being directed by Allen in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

The film attempted to show Allen’s true passion for the process of making movies. His portfolio of work echoes diversity, development and a huge love of the film-making industry. Weide successfully demonstrates how Allen’s lack of interest in his ever changing public persona has helped him to produce some of his most daring and delightful pieces of work. As I am going to study and write about Allen a considerable lot in the upcoming year for my degree, I left the cinema feeling passionate and prepared for this daunting task. I skipped down the road dreaming of Diane Keaton and longing to spend my evening in 1970’s New York.

Life size sculpture of Woody Allen in Oviedo, Spain

Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry. 

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