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Conversations with Woody Allen: His Films, the Movies, and Moviemaking

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4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  654 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
From the author of the best-selling biography Woody Allen—the most informative, revealing, and entertaining conversations from his thirty-six years of interviewing the great comedian and filmmaker.

For more than three decades, Woody Allen has been talking regularly and candidly with Eric Lax, and has given him singular and unfettered access to his film sets, his editing roo
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 16th 2007 by Knopf (first published 2007)
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Amir
همه چیز فراهمه که کتاب رو با پیش‌زمینه ذهنی خوبی شروع نکنی. انتخاب جلد سخت. طراحی جلد سردستی. تصور این‌که مصاحبه‌گر به جای شکل مرسوم کرونولوژیک و «فیلم به فیلم»، اومده و فصل‌هایی مثل «فکر اولیه»، «نوشتن»، «انتخاب بازیگر...»، «فیلم‌برداری»، «کارگردانی» و ... ظرف کرده و بعد تو دل هر فصل ترتیب تاریخی رو وارد بازی کرده و فیلم به فیلم پیش رفته... فکر اینکه چطور میشه انسجام اون فصل رو نگه داشت؟ چطور میشه یه مصاحبه تو یه تاریخ زمانی خاص رو تیکه تیکه و پخش کرد تو فصلا. انگار آماده‌ای که بگی نشدنیه و ...more
Jeremy
Dec 26, 2007 Jeremy rated it really liked it
Despite and no doubt because of the incessant prodding and passion of moviewise peers, I've never really been able to drudge up much enthusiasm for the films of Woody Allen. With a handful of exceptions ("Deconstructing Harry" and "Crimes and Misdemeanors" come to mind), I don't feel that I derive much of anything from them. This is partly due to the fact that I have little in common with the target audience, that being Woody and the people who enjoy and have things in common with him. I hate ...more
Eliana Rivero
Jan 27, 2015 Eliana Rivero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
De hecho, hay mucha gente que se gana la vida sin ser realmente gracioso. En toda profesión solo unos pocos son buenos de verdad. No es que me incluya dentro de esa categoría, lo que digo es que en cualquier profesión, ya sea la de neurocirujano, policía o humorista, solo hay unas cuantas personas realmente buenas; el resto son más que nada trabajadores que pueden dedicarse a lo que hacen pero que nunca llegarán ser brillantes (p.229)


Creo que este libro es un gran ejemplo de la entrevista como
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Richard
Mar 23, 2008 Richard rated it liked it
If you are a big Woody Allen fan, this is the book to read. It's very comprehensive...I actually had to skip through about half the book because I wasn't interested in learning about how Woody works on the set as a director...It was interesting to read about how he writes, where ideas come from and how they'll develop over time. I also liked learning about the actors he works with and his opinion of his own work and his "legacy." He never watches his movies after he's done making them...and ...more
Ed
May 29, 2009 Ed rated it really liked it
Eric Lax has had almost unfettered access to Woody Allen for over 35 years. He gets candid and insightful views into every aspect of filmmaking from writing to directing to scoring. Allen is, as one would expect, self deprecating but not to the point where you think he's putting you on. It's refreshing that both Allen and I agree The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion is probably his worst movie. And he does think Husbands And Wives and Match Point came off well (along with a very few others). If the ...more
Elisa
Dec 25, 2008 Elisa rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was a delightful experience. I appreciated especially the way it is divided, in topics such as Directing, Acting, Scoring, Career, etc. You can read it in any order you wish, depending on your interest in learning about a specific part of Woody’s work. I’m not a huge fan of Woody, but I admire his work a lot. This book made me admire him even more and anxious to watch all of his work. I recommend it to anyone that’s interested in moviemaking, be the person a Woody fan or not. ...more
Joel
Jan 27, 2009 Joel rated it liked it
I have to say I skimmed this book, stopping to read some sections closely. I'm fascinated by the creative process, and this book provides a window into Allen's work from a variety of angles - coming up with ideas, writing, directing, editing, etc. By the way, Woody doesn't think his own movies are all that special. By the end of the book, my overall impression was that I would very much like to watch movies with this man: he's funny, opinionated, and passionate about film. And yet he doesn't ...more
Jennifer
Sep 13, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Si eres fan de Allen o de sus películas es cardinal que leas este libro. Está lleno de anécdotas y te ayuda a entender la forma de pensar, actuar y dirigir de Allen. Maravilloso. <3
China Bialos
Mar 16, 2014 China Bialos rated it really liked it
This book sat on my shelf since it had come out, and my timing of it was strangely relevant given the renewal of Dylan Farrow's accusations; it's hard not to consider this angle when reading a book full of his interviews. That said, this is a fantastic and comprehensive collection of interviews by Eric Lax, a perfect complement to his earlier biography of Woody Allen, spanning the early 70s through the mid-2000s.

It touches on the making of essentially every movie he's done through Scoop, and Al
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Annalisa
Aug 09, 2015 Annalisa rated it really liked it
I've always been curious how Woody Allen manages to assemble such an interesting collection of actors in combinations no one else would ever dream of, and also, how he manages to make a movie a year. The guy is amazing. Not all the movies are, but some are such gems. What I liked was finding out that he has a drawer into which he puts scraps of paper with ideas and jokes on them. His method of choosing actors is simple. He's looking for a person who fits an image in his mind for a character and ...more
Arun Jawarlal
Mar 26, 2016 Arun Jawarlal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Conceptually humorous and Psychologically complex - that's Woody Allen! Using terms like Chaplinesque and Hitchcockian or labelling a murder mystery - A plane read are typically Allen. His exposure to Art, Literature and Cinema in his own sort of observant way is enthralling. It is surprising to know that Allen liked the concept of having children and children in particular. A deeply thoughtful person who always likes to think ahead for not falling into emptiness. He loves comedies and ...more
Jedidiah
Mar 19, 2008 Jedidiah rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, film
This is a fascinating look at my favorite filmmaker, and it gave me a great deal of appreciation for his career, regardless of how Woody himself sees most of his films.

There are a few drawbacks that keep me from ranking it 5 stars. Lax has a propensity, especially in the first half of the book, to parenthate entirely too often; to make it worse, he uses the exact same parenthetical content for the same subjects in several chapters. It's a small complaint, but it is enormously distracting. There
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Chris
Jun 04, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
A comprehensive, if sometimes scattershot, look at Woody Allen's work in a series of interviews from 1972 to 2007. Lax has organized this volume along stages of moviemaking, i.e., the idea, casting, editing, etc., which provides some unity to the discussion but also leads to some repetition. Allen, after all, is not the most loquacious discussant of his own work. But unlike some previous books on Allen - Stig Bjorkman's Woody Allen on Woody Allen especially - this structure allows the book to ...more
Stefano
Mar 16, 2015 Stefano rated it liked it
The good thing about the book is that it is more about Allen's opinions than film analysis (not that those are bad but they are not what I was looking for) and has both very recent and very old interviews.
Some few things I didn't like were the way the book is divided by topics (I would have preferred a chronological account of the interviews), the lack of even the vary basic biographical aspect and a gap between a first interview period and a second (the movies in the gap are covered anyway but
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Ryan
Jan 09, 2014 Ryan rated it liked it
Not exactly sure why I read this. I guess the idea of reading interviews appealed to me after reading heavy fiction. There's a lot of good comments about creativity, philosophy, work ethic, etc, and some mild humor. There were some sections that were tedious and repetitious. That's why I give it three stars. Also, the scandal is hard to overlook. I'm surprised I bought this book, I just kind of went for it. It felt like the book /author/editor lost momentum and allowed things to ramble at the ...more
Matt Scalici
Apr 09, 2013 Matt Scalici rated it really liked it
Shelves: film
As an Allen devotee who has seen all 40+ of his films, it's a wonderful experience to be able to read detailed thoughts from him on each film. It's also neat to look or the seeds of future films in some of his early interviews. On the negative side, a lot of material is rehashed multiple times throughout the book and Woody can occasionally be a bit frustrating with his refusal to accept credit for his good decisions over his career. Overall, for an Allen fan, this is an absolute must.
Erik
Apr 23, 2015 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: film
Very interesting read on Woody's films, influences, and filmmaking. The book is separated into sections based on different parts of filmmaking, so interviews are chopped up to fit thematically. It reads much better than it sounds. Woody comes across as witty and intelligent, and there's a lot of great looks into how he works out his ideas. You don't have to have seen these movies to enjoy this, and it made me want to watch some of the ones I hadn't yet seen.
Steven
Dec 15, 2008 Steven rated it it was ok
Kind of a snooze, I thought. Organizing the interviews loosely by topic as done here was probably better than just printing them in chronological order but it doesn't save them from being mostly boring. Since Lax is an unabashed fan, there's no tension, no challenging questions - Woody just rambles on. The only thing I found interesting was that Woody Allen clearly isn't the best judge of his own work. Apparently, he feels Scoop and Hollywood Ending are two of his better films. Really now.
Walter
May 13, 2009 Walter rated it liked it
Every movie by Woody is a conversation with him.
I thought the title was uber (sorry I spent time in Manhattan) ironic.
But still, he has good insight. Good book. Woody has skills.
He can write.

The whole “idea” of "voice" if you really want to get down to it in terms of drama came from Woody. He was that powerful a force. No one talked about “voice” in scripts before him. They talked about other things, like themes, ideas, what is this writer "saying" but "voice" is Woody.
Kiof
May 24, 2011 Kiof rated it really liked it
I should probably give this book 5 stars, but there's something that's vaguely depressing about it. Much of it was highly interesting, but I was bummed out by the time I finished it. I'm not a Woody Allen fan (not that I dislike him, I just don't think about him much at all) and obviously somebody would like it better if they were one. I read it because I love interview books. And this is one of the better ones I've encountered.
Bill
Sep 29, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing
The best book about Mr. Allen's life and film career that I have ever read. readers learn straight from Allen about his films and about himself.

The book made me love Woody Allen's films even more than I already did, which I thought was impossible.

A great book about a great filmmaker--though he himself begs to differ.
Eric Blair
Aug 30, 2015 Eric Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy interesante y entretenido. Recomendable a quien busque conocer más sobre el cine de Woody Allen, el proceso de creación y la profesión de cineasta en general. Incluye muchos datos curiosos sobre su filmografía. En algunas partes es aburrido, recurrente o peca de excesiva autocompadecencia por parte del director.
Aaron
Mar 28, 2008 Aaron rated it it was amazing
This is essential reading for anyone who is a fan of the work of Woody Allen. From conversations about how his ideas have progressed from one thing to another to rather detailed explanations as to why he appears in some of his films but not in others, this book is an insightful career-spanning look into the mind of an American master.
E.C. McCarthy
Sep 07, 2011 E.C. McCarthy rated it it was amazing
Eric Lax's interviews with Woody Allen span decades, and this book pulls them together beautifully. For readers specifically interested in one aspect of Allen's career -- directing, writing, acting, scoring, editing, etc. -- this format is especially illuminating. Within each section, his growth (or stubborn resistance to growth, in some cases) is evident and fascinating. A truly enjoyable read.
Mazzi
Sep 08, 2010 Mazzi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book about W Allen and his movies. Sometimes is very repetitive. I think that the cause is because it's a book about interviews and sometimes the topics and the enumeration of movies are the same.
Like it though. Good profile about Woody Allen. You can learn so much about the process of make a movie with this book.
Alejandra Casal
Jul 03, 2015 Alejandra Casal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fundamental lectura para todo amante/seguidor de Woody Allen. Una conversación del autor con el director que se mantuvo a lo largo de muchos años. Tal vez la elección de no contarlo cronológicamente marea un poco.
Joshua Buchin
Jan 13, 2008 Joshua Buchin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like books were one person is interviewed for three hundred pages.
This book has been sitting on my couch for a few weeks now and whenever I'm really bored or unfocused I flip through a few pages of it and then, magically, feel like doing something productive.

Woody Allen seems smarter and more deliberate in this book than he does in his films.


Hugo Damián
Jun 23, 2013 Hugo Damián rated it it was amazing
Great book, you feel totally immerse in the dialogue. By the end of the book, you could swear that Woody Allen is one of your best friends. The level of insight into his work, his mind and his thoughts is marvelous.
Joanna
Jan 27, 2013 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
movie making, from writing down the idea to directing and montage, along with director's confessions. Brilliant.
Jennifer
Apr 27, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest Woody Allen compendium there is. Eric Lax really gets at the meat of most issues.
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“Seja como for, as pessoas dedicadas à religião não querem reconhecer a realidade que contradiz o seu conto de fadas. Se realmente vivermos num universo sem Deus, elas perdem o emprego. O fluxo de dinheiro estagna.

Por outro lado, há pessoas que escolhem viver a sua vida de uma forma completamente egocêntrica e homicida. Essas sentem que, se nada importa e elas podem fazer o que querem sem sofrer consequeências, vão fazê-lo. Mas também podemos ver as coisas de outra maneira: estamos nós e os outros todos, vivos e num barco salva-vidas, e temos de fazer as coisas da maneira mais decente possível para nós e para eles. A mim parece-me que esta seria uma forma de viver muito mais morale "cristã": reconhecermos a terrível verdade da existência humana e, perante isso, ainda escolhermos ser humanos decentes em vez de nos iludirmos sobre a existência de uma qualquer recompensa paradisíaca ou um qualquer castigo infernal. Parecia-me uma atitude muito mais nobre. Se há recompensa, castigo ou qualquer tipo de pagamento e agimos bem, então não estamos a fazer por razões muito nobres - os chamados princípios cristãos. É como os bombistas suicidas que agem alegadamente de acordo com princípios religiosos ou nacionais bastante nobres quando, na verdade, as suas famílias recebem uma recompensa em dinheiro e congratulam-se com um legado heróico - já para não falar da promessa de virgens para os perpetradores, embora me passe completamente ao lado como é que alguém prefere um grupo de virgens a uma mulher altamente experiente.”
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