claps.gr

(Text in greek)


BEHIND HIS BLACK RIMMED GLASSES.


Woody Allen is a "Chapter" in the history of cinema himself. An entire film school, either focusing on his first films that he did not direct himself and simply starred in, by setting the appropriate coordinates, or referring to his later creative directing career. The comedian's elemental word, his dramatic bases and the peculiarity of his stage presence are stated in a very intense way, and even without initially being able to spread his personal word to its fullest range. He then concludes: “... the only way to make a movie is to have complete control over it.” So he begins writing, starring, directing, producing films and eventually achieving his universal artistic independence. His work now becomes personal and, mostly, direct to the viewer as a kind of mutual psychoanalysis of the hero by the viewer and vice versa. This is what ultimately makes him stand out from the rest of the crowd and -with a stripped-down simplicity- to penetrate our subconscious. A kind of “confession” where the creator reveals his fears, his repulsions, his obsessions, and his visions, too. And yet his fear goes along with hope, leading the viewer on paths of redemption; charming but also wounding at the same time. Woody Allen, for his time, was literally a new quality in texts. He is a writer who plays with himself through a strong interaction with his material. Something like a direct heir to Groucho Marx. This question often comes to the fore: today's films, or those made 50-60 years ago, for example, are better. I don't know if today's movies are better or worse than the older ones. But the only sure thing is that both they and we are different and we see today's films from a different perspective. And because movies of a previous era are more familiar to us, our expectations for today’s movies are different. We now have a cinematic legacy: the gaining of filmmaking experience. So instead of being nostalgic for the good old days, this legacy should make us more critical of second-class products, and more sensitive to a talent like Woody Allen. The Woody Allen phenomenon is charming. On the other hand, the self-knowledge that he generously offers us is often associated with pain. For example, when Isaac Davis in "Manhattan" says, "I never had a relationship with a woman that lasted as long as Hitler did with Eve Brown," we laugh, but behind the letters, pain ultimately prevails. And when Diane Keaton is deeply troubled by adventures that are doomed to remain unfulfilled, she screams, "I'm a beautiful woman. I'm very smart. I deserve more than that!", then Woody's comedy pierces our hearts.
Woody Allen's films are expanding year after year and their vision grows and becomes more open to demands. There is no longer rigidity in his cinematic narrative, he begins to maintain a steady upward journey towards maturity and complete reflection, with each new film showing less and less technical and morphological defects and a greater number of ideas and findings. A typical example is the scene in the “Sleeper” where Woody Allen accurately replicates a scene from Marlon Brando's film, strictly adheres to the framing, dialogue and decoupage of the film, only reversing the gender of the people talking (the role of Marlon Brando is played by Diane Keaton, and Woody Allen plays the role of the woman). Thus, the drama of the film turns into a diametrically opposite one and becomes a facetious comedy. We then move on to another period beginning with “Annie Hall”, a period of multiple maturity for Woody Allen in all areas of filmmaking: more meaningful and better organized reflection, explicit drama and, above all, a well-conquered film writing, solid and full of plasticity, revealing the full range of its potential in the field of dynamic visual cinema. At this time, Woody Allen's work ceases to be one-dimensional and exclusively comic. His comedy becomes more profound, psychoanalytic and acquires more character.
In general, the comedy's redeeming potential is limited when the creators experience the characters of their works, and so the shift towards psychotropic clearance of the drama becomes necessary, especially for Woody Allen, whose cinema is a kind of impersonal group psychoanalysis. He likes to straddle that fine line that connects sweet to bitter and comical to melancholic in a "Chaplin" type composition (Remember for example in “Take the Money and Run”, he takes his clothes out from the fridge. An obvious loan from early Chaplin.)
So this short but sympathetic red-haired myopic Jewish begins to slowly but steadily shape the figure of the infamous loser, the one that women do not take seriously, a neurotic intellectual or just born to lose. And yet Woody Allen is basically the born winner who today has very methodically built a career behind him, equal I dare say regarding the type he represents to those of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, De Palma, and Stone. But he did all this as a tireless worker who had no victory come to him and gained every success with true iron discipline. And here's the result: in everything that he dives into for decades now, he knows how to master, with wise combinations and with the precision of a watchmaker, a well-crafted narrative mechanism where situations and characters with the relentless development (positive or negative) of our society are demythologized and reflectively progress in a rational conscious action.
In Greek, the word “heresy” has several meanings and interpretations depending on its etymology. One of them is: a set of ideas or opinions that deviate from those that are considered right or established in one field. With this reasoning, there is a philosophical heresy, an ideological heresy, a political heresy, a religious heresy, and an artistic heresy. I think Woody Allen, with all that he has achieved so far, is a big “heretic” of cinema, since whatever he has “borrowed” from cinema he has managed to transform it into something entirely new by preserving the existing external forms while still having decidedly given a unique satire complexion. Yes, Woody Allen's satire deviates from all the other established ones and so it is subversive. And not only that but his subversive style, in general, is what really defines everything he comes up with. Some say he repeats himself because you often distinct in his works, both in him and in other actors who embody their roles, something neurotic, insecure, and phobic. But personally I think this is a personal choice of what he wants to get out there and how he wants to get it out. That's all. And I think he does it perfectly and better than anyone else who deals with the very difficult subject of comedy. Others still argue that Woody Allen is not a good actor. To be honest I myself could not imagine him performing Richard III but on the other hand, I am not sure if the actor who could interpret Richard III could interpret so well this character that Woody Allen portrays in most of his works. Pay attention. Woody Allen has remained for decades now the one and only because he is who he is. And though he got ideas from other comedians, he never imitated other comedians (the opposite seems to have happened) and he was, from the beginning, and speaking for the kind of comedy he represents, the “Columbus” of the philosophical and high intelligence satire, at least in the way he decided to do it.