The New York director has finally announced that he does not want to end his career. His next film, the fiftieth, will take place in a few weeks in Paris. A look back at the career of this prolific director.
Last June, the filmmaker had already briefly expressed his desire to stop the cinema. A sad news put on the carpet during an interview carried out by the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. The information was recently denied by his spokesperson. At 86, Woody Allen is working on the production of his next feature film, which will be in the same vein as Match Point (2005).
An inveterate comic
Woody Allen began by writing numerous columns for newspapers such as Playboy but also sketches comedies for television, where one already discerns a talent for writing and a certain taste for the burlesque and the satirical. In the early 1960s, he tried his hand at the one-man show, and gradually toured the cabarets of New York. A few years later, it is thanks to Charles Feldman that Woody enters the cinema. The producer offers him to rewrite the script for What’s up Pussy Cat? (1965), to infuse a comic tone into the film which he successfully adopts. This comedy marks the beginning of Woody Allen’s career in cinema. Still in the burlesque vein, the director continues to write screenplays like that of Royal Casino (1967) a parody in which he plays James Bond’s nephew. We can also remember the very funny Everything you always wanted to know about sex (1972). He turns out to be a very good actor, especially in the film by Herbert Ross that he scripts Fall down girls and shut up (1972), he marvelously embodies this neurotic character of a New York intellectual with tragicomic anxieties. Character that he will play and cultivate throughout his work. This film also marks the meeting with Diane Keaton who will become his muse for his next films, which he now decides to direct himself. Thus, the mid-1970s is synonymous with independence for Woody Allen, since it is the period when he will assert his mark as a director and impose his very personal universe.
Self-fiction and action!
The filmmaker, who was nicknamed “Red” as a child, because of his hair color, began a very prolific period from 1976. The puny and myopic man who makes everyone laugh will establish himself as a great of the 7th Art. The film of all successes is Annie Hall (1977) which won four Oscars (best film, best director, best screenplay, best actress). Woody Allen likes to play autofiction, he will masterfully stage a hero full of contradictions. He is the nerd who mocks the intellect, the homebody sportsman, the courageous hypochondriac, the cynical romantic, a character full of paradoxes, and therefore very human in the end. Hence the success. He directed no less than ten films during this period, in which Diane Keaton distinguished herself brilliantly, such as manhattan (1979). This film is a declaration of love for New York, his favorite city. Woody Allen tackles deeper subjects than when he started out, full of cultural and artistic references, but always imbued with self-mockery. The director is very fond of European culture and his films appeal to the other side of the Atlantic. This is how he gains respect and establishes his status as an artist.
New muse, new horizons
It was in the 80s that Woody met Mia Farrow. She becomes his new muse, first in A Midsummer Night’s Erotic Comedy (1982), but also in the fascinating and romantic The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) in which he pays homage to the 7th Art. The director produces more and more dramatic comedies and tours in European countries, countries from which he draws his references and finds an audience that adores him. We can cite the sulphurousVicky Christina Barcelona (2008) which he toured in Spain and presented at the Cannes Film Festival. But also Match Point (2005) shot in London with the sensual Scarlett Johansson or the romantic Midnight in Paris (2011) which won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Separation and legal disputes
In August 1992, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, Dylan Farrow, confided to a doctor that she had been sexually assaulted by her father when she was young. The couple ends up separating and the story makes a lot of noise in Holywood. This does not affect the productivity of the filmmaker who finds Diane Keaton the time to make a film noir Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993). However Woody Allen marries his other adopted daughter Soon Yi Previn in 1997. With the MeToo affair, his daughter Dylan returns to the facts reproached to Woody Allen in 2017. The director then sees some producers turning their backs on him.
Autobiography and revival
In March 2020, the filmmaker released his autobiography By the way to Stock editions. He recounts all his beginnings, his rise in the cinema with humility and humor, but also his shadowy parts. A quote sums up the artist well: “I am coming into the world, a world in which I will never feel completely at ease, which I will never really understand, which I do not approve of and which I do not forgive”. Now, Woody Allen still makes movies but is saddened to see streaming platforms gobble up movies, ending up producing them all. He remains a fervent defender of dark rooms, the only real place to appreciate a cinematographic work with dignity.