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January 19, 2006 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-01-19

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Laugh In The n w year With

tionships were not as you saw them in
the movie. Values were not the same,
integrity was not the same, and heroism
was not.
"I don't think that I ever recovered
fully:' he said. "Because I went into
movies and have lived a big portion of
every year in a very unreal world. I go in
the morning and there are beautiful
women and handsome men, and they're
in costumes and 1920s nightclubs. I
make the stories come out the way I
want them to. And so I have always led a
very unreal life
And he endorses this way of living.
He talks about it with conviction. "The
less, reality, the better. You get enough
reality',' he said. "It finds you — you
don't have to seek it out. If you were
locked into reality all the time, you'd go
crazy. You're reduced to escapism.
Magic."

She also suggested that all of the
rapid-fire "references" in Allen's films
— something so common in popular
culture today — were "smart talk meant
to convey the message that the speaker
knows his way around lit and history,
not to mention showbiz."
"I'm not intellectual:' said Allen. "I'm
the guy that you see at home with the
beer watching the Knicks on television,
or the football game. I'm not sitting up
in bed with my Kierkegaard or reading
Dostoyevsky."
For a moment, all those messy, sexy
women in his films — who never seem
to be able to choose a profession but
always want "to write who read e.e.
cummings when they're told to by their
more sophisticated lovers, who fall in
love with Woody Allen because he's their
'teacher — seemed less silly.
In fact, he's not unfamiliar with the
inferiority complex. "I found myself —
I don't know why — attracted to what I
guess you would call these kind of •
uncommercial-looking women:' he said

Work As Shield
When Allen was asked about the
rewards of life, he laughed and cursorily
mentioned family and "momen-
tary flashes:'
But then he went back to his
work. His-work was his shield.
Match Point, he said, had "served
its function when I made it — to
distract me from thinking of the
worst parts of reality. I was able to
spend time on solvable problems
as to how to make the characters
work, and how to make the scenes
flow, and I never had to face up to
the unsolvable terrible problems.
These are all distractions for me."
"Anhedonia," as the Allen pack
knows, was almost the title of
Annie Hall. And at one point in the
course of our conversation, all
these years later, Allen still used
the word to describe his state.
In an essay, Joan Didion
scratched at the Woody glaze by
attacking the famous litany at the
Emily Mortimer stars as the cheated-upon
end of Manhattan, when the Allen newlywed Chloe in Match Point.
character lists his reasons to live:
"Groucho Marx, Willie Mays, Louis
of his teenage self.
Armstrong's 'Potato Head Blues.' Every
"They all were highly literate. They
experience it evokes is essentially pas-
knew
poetry and classical music and
sive. This list of Woody Allen's is the
opera
and novels and philosophy. And I
ultimate consumer report:'
was
a
major illiterate, and I couldn't
She wrote that it "suggests a new class
hold
my
own with those women at all.
in America, a sub-world of people rigid
For
the
first
time in my life, I had gen-
with apprehension that they will die
uine
motivation
toward education."
wearing the wrong sneaker, naming the
Madame
wrong symphony, preferring
Recent Films
Bovary.
In
recent films, Allen has been attacked
Didion was both right and mean:
Woody Allen's movies freed people to be as being out-of-touch, a man hermeti-
cally sealed in a high-ceilinged
self-obsessed; he made it look fun to be
a narcissist.
Comeback Kid on page 44

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January 19 2006

43.

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