Baiocco's Reviews > Woody Allen on Woody Allen

Woody Allen on Woody Allen by Stig Björkman
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Aug 11, 08

Read in August, 2008

I've only seen five woody allen movies (Zelig, Annie Hall, Reconstructing Harry, Sweet and Lowdown, and Match Point) but I feel like I've seen them all. I don't know if thats a good thing, but in reading these interviews between the film maker and the Swedish film critic Stig Bjorkman wherein the two go through each and every WA movie from 'Take The Money and Run' to 'Manhattan Murder Mystery', I got a clear sense of what was happening in those movies. Frankly, that wasn't so interesting, and kind of repetitive. The cool thing about this book is that Woody Allen is an artist in the true sense of the word in that he processes his life by creating art, so his output is prolific as hell and encompasses periods of both personal joy and disaster. He never took time off to "work on his personal problems", but rather worked through them on the screen. This means that his work at times might be repetitive or lost or mediocre but at least honest. Honesty seems to be the thing that propels him, personal truth, being able to rationalize every single situation so he can find the impetus to function as the ammoral asshole that he is, loveably.

The bad thing about this book is that Woody Allen is expert at dodging personal questions that have to do with anything but his movies, and reverent interviewer Stig Bjorkman never pries too hard. I guess that's why a vanity project like this gets greenlighted by Woody Allen, who seems to function best in a world where his work can answer for his own insecurities. No harm in that though, I could care less if he fucked his adopted daughter or if he drinks acai berry tea in a dayglo sauna to come up with the plots for his thinly veiled satires of he and his friends' romantic entanglements. The only thing that matters is if I laugh or cry at his movies.

The good thing about this book, is hearing Allen talk about his early days as a joke writer. Have you ever tried to write a joke? Its not that easy, especially if you don't get a chance to tell it yourself, or set it up. Woody was a natural at writing jokes, skits, gags and premises and this part of the interviews was great and spoke to where such talent came from, how naturally it flowed, and what he did to make money in the meantime.

Since the interviewer is Swedish, there are an obscene amount of references to Ingmar Bergman. To the point where many of these interviews turn every Woody Allen interview into a Bergman homage, which I'm sure was not the intention of the director.
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