This is a fascinating and engaging documentary that examines the creative life of Woody Allen from his childhood, to his days writing funny gags for newspapers and doing stand-up comedy (an experience which WeideÂ´s documentary reveals to have been extremely painful for Allen) to his recent Oscar-winning and box-office hit "Midnight in Paris".
AllenÂ´s film career spans over forty years so, of course, Robert WeideÂ´s documentary is illustrated with a gamut of clips but they are extremely well-chosen: 1965Â´s "WhatÂ´s New Pussycat?" (an experience that convinced Woody Allen never to write anything he didnÂ´t direct), early-Â´70s comedies "Bananas" and "Sleeper", mega-hit "Annie Hall" (1977), the Bergman-influenced "Interiors" (1978), a homage to his hometown: "Manhattan" (1979), the 1986 Oscar-winner "Hannah and Her Sisters", the London-set "Match Point" (2005), the arguably brilliant Zellig (2008) â€“ the list goes on and on.
Director Robert Weide includes interviews with WoodyÂ´s mother (archive footage), Letty Aronson â€“ his sister and producer partner from the early 1990Â´s, a plethora of actors including Diane Keaton, Scarlett Johansson and PenÃ©lope Cruz. Then of course, thereÂ´s Woody Allen himself, who is funny, frank, and self-disparaging throughout. One awe-inspiring moment is when Allen shows us the Olympia typewriter, a German model, on which heÂ´s hammered out every word heÂ´s written since he bought it about 60 years ago. Another revealing and priceless moment is when he shows us scruffy bits of paper, which he keeps at the side of his bed, on which are hand-written one-word/phrases and demonstrates how he rummages through them each time he wants to find and develop an idea for his next film.
"Woody Allen: A Documentary" has fascinating and behind-the-scenes footage of Allen directing on location, in the studio, and working in the editing suite. Throughout this documentary Director Robert Weide seems to keep a respectful distance, which probably explains why Woody Allen allowed him in the editing suite, or in his home for that matter.
So while "Woody Allen: A Documentary" is akin to slowly and carefully looking at each page in a treasured photo album, turning each page with respect and care, there is one page that is perhaps incomplete. Weide doesnÂ´t discuss, or engage much, with the great Soon-Yi scandal â€“ the awful moment in 1992 when Woody Allen was found to be having an affair with the adopted daughter of his partner Mia Farrow. Their high-profile split during the filming of "Husbands And Wives" (1992) is briskly covered: thereÂ´s a montage of the tabloid front pages, and Allen blandly says that people are entitled to whatever opinion they like. To most people, Woody Allen may have fallen in love with the wrong woman, but according to a brief comment in the documentary made by his sister, Woody Allen is in a happy marriage and has never been happier in his life. Maybe thereÂ´s no more to be said.
AVIVA TIP: This is an intimate, affectionate and warmly celebratory study of the man who arguably became a crusader for the masters of European cinema. ItÂ´s a pleasure and riveting to watch. There are fascinating revelations for even the most knowledgeable Woody Allen fans and followers, although it doesnÂ´t go too deeply under the surface.
WOODY ALLEN: A DOCUMENTARY (2012)
DVD: 2 Disc Set
Contents: Main film: Parts 1 and 2
Bonus: Deleted Scenes (ca. 12 min.), 12 questions about Woody Allen (6 min.), Interview with Robert B. Weide (6 min.), cinema trailer
Language: Original version (English with German subtitles)
DVD release date: 25. Oct. 2012
Verleih: NFP marketing & distribution
EAN (Verkauf): 4009750211489 / Bestell-Nr: 211483
Director: Robert B. Weide
Writer: Robert B. Weide
Producer: Robert B. Weide
Distributor: NFP Distribution (2012) (Germany)
For more information look at:
www.youtube.com, A Documentary Official Trailer
www.youtube.com, Time Magazine
Interview with Carole, Cadwalladr (Observer, 2011)
Scoop â€“ Der zweite London-Film von Woody Allen