The Films of Woody Allen

The Films of Woody Allen

The Films of Woody Allen

The Films of Woody Allen

Synopsis

Sam Girgus argues that Allen has consistently been on the cutting edge of contemporary critical and cultural consciousness. Allen continues to challenge notions of authorship, narrative, perspective, character, theme, ideology, gender and sexuality. This revised and updated edition includes two new chapters that examine Allen's work since 1992. Girgus thoughtfully asserts that the scandal surrounding Allen's personal life in the early 1990s has altered his image in ways that reposition moral consciousness in his work.

Excerpt

For years, Woody Allen, the eccentric and nervous, obsessive and compulsive, Jewish New Yorker was also the man who seemed to have it all together – life, art, work, love. This appeared to be especially true during his 11-to 12-year relationship with Mia Farrow. By most accounts, the success of his unusual domestic arrangement with Mia Farrow and their brood matched the success of his life and work in film; and in film, Allen's brilliance as director, writer, and star with final authority over production made him a historic figure of accomplishment, a judgment about his overall work that still holds true today. By the time of his relationship with Farrow, Allen had triumphed not only in film but in many books, articles, and performances as well. At that point in his life, Allen's record of achievement signified a degree of international success and recognition that made his career in comedy and film comparable even with Charlie Chaplin's.

However, in contrast to Chaplin, who usually performed as The Tramp, Allen invariably plays himself, thinly disguising himself as various film characters who are themselves fictionalized versions of Allen's own manufactured identity as Woody Allen. In the case of Chaplin, the mask of The Tramp established some protection for his career in the midst of scandals involving young women. For Allen, no such cover exists. In Allen's case, the fusion of the public and private selves helped him achieve success, but as it turned out, the same merger of the public and private in life and work increased his vulnerability to painful exposure concerning his private life. He has not been able to inoculate his public image against an association with his private behavior.

About ten years after the public first learned about Allen's sexual relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of Mia Farrow, repercussions remain for his reputation and career. The relationship between Allen . . .

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