We live in a strange world, or at least a strange time for the world, in which the news that Woody Allen has started filming on his latest movie makes headlines as something unusual. What makes the headline strange, despite the fact that having directed over 50 movies throughout his career you’d hardly think it strange, is that the New York director has managed to overcome the boycott that for the past couple of years, the American film industry and some of its most influential studios and stars had imposed on him since “The New York Times” lent its weight or gave credence to the allegations of sexual abuse from his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. This was not the first time she made these allegations. She did so in 1992, when she was a child, still reeling from and affected by Allen’s separation from Mia Farrow, but the courts found no credibility in the accusations. Dylan’s insistence now, together with certain media outlets who fan the flames and the favorable environment in Hollywood since the appearance of the MeToo movement have led Woody Allen (like many other actors, directors and producers) to swell another infamous Black List.
And with the world in the strange shape it’s in, we must consider it miraculous that Woody Allen has been able to overcome a boycott that has already done away with some movie geniuses, and this is basically down to the commitment and trust of MEDIAPRO, with whom Allen has already produced other films, including Vicky Cristina Barcelona, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Midnight in Paris and From Rome with Love. So, it was against all odds that this very natural choice of company, in other words MEDIAPRO, or as is the case now with THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO- and Woody Allen managed to do that which they know and comes natural to them, because even the powerful Amazon (with whom he made his last films since that TV mini-series Crisis In Six Scenes) decided to place his last unreleased movie, A Rainy Day in New York on hold, although fortunately its premiere is already scheduled for October.
And so, that’s how after an unnatural break of two years, the world will once again see Woody Allen doing what he has always done: shooting one movie while releasing another.
Naturally, we are not in a position to ponder or judge the case surrounding Woody Allen, but we can weigh up its effects: neither the world, nor culture, nor cinema are so talented that they can dispense with the work that Woody Allen can still produce, and what’s even more important, nor can it in any way erase, discolor or distort the immense and unrepeatable work he has behind him. Nor of course, the greatness, creativity and depth of his character, having explored every fold of the human soul with a seriousness, finesse and sense of humor that’s impossible to find in other authors. In reality, Woody Allen occupies an ideal, insurmountable space on the map of twentieth-century film culture, somewhere in that utopian and equidistant space between Groucho Marx and Ingmar Bergman.
Insofar as the movie he’s already filming in San Sebastian, Woody Allen, as is his custom, has barely revealed any details about the storyline, bar that it’s a romantic comedy with several love entanglements during the San Sebastian Festival. Several of the actors are well-known, including Christoph Waltz, Gina Gherson, Wally Shawn, Frenchman Louis Garrel and Spanish actor Sergi López and actress Elena Anaya. We also know the impact that filming is having on the city, which has literally thrown itself into the project pulling out all the stops until filming finishes at the end of August. Allen didn’t even reveal the movie’s title, although he did give us a provisional one, “The Rifkin Festival”.
Before this project wraps up, we’ll get the opportunity to see his ‘on hold’ movie, A Rainy Day in New York, starring Timothée Chalamet (the young man from Call Me By Your Name), Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Rebecca Hall and Diego Luna. A story that takes place in his Monument Valley, his city of wonders, which was framed for eternity in films like Annie Hall and Manhattan.
While awaiting his latest movies to be his voice and speak for him, anyone who wants to find out the whole truth about Woody Allen has only to see all his previous films, in which, in one way or another, he has defined, described, explained himself and confessed to a greater or lesser degree, both for himself as well as hundreds of millions of people. Forthright, devil-may-care, and firmly conserving his ethics and prejudices. Just shy of 84, there are few things that Allen doesn’t know. Of course, among them is the meaning of life, which Alvy, his character in Annie Hall clarified in the opening scene, “There’s an old joke. Uh, two elderly women are at a Catskills mountain resort, and one of ’em says: “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know, and such … small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.”