Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stardust Memories

It's the 1980's and Diane Keaton has been dropped like a hot potato that has been held for six years.

Stardust Memories is filmed in the style of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 and Allen uses the form as a mirror. In the movie, Allen plays a director going to a screening of his earlier, funnier works. There are a lot of sound bytes that could easily have been lobbed at Allen himself. They are either self-criticism or the recycling of media critics. He is pretentious, he is narcissistic, he doesn't know what he's doing, he's a genius. And then also the romantic aspect where his character is caught in a revolving door of women.

"Should I change my movie? Should I change my life?" Woody asks toward the middle of the film. And it does seem, more than almost any other director, that Woody Allen lives his life through his films. He can't seem to escape the fact that he keeps repeating -- that art is the chance to control what you can't control in life.

I don't know how much the failed relationship in the movie reflects his failed relationship with Diane Keaton, but it is clear that Woody has no intentions of letting failure keep him from moving on.

In Manhattan, Mariel Hemingway gives Woody a harmonica, and in this movie, Charlotte Rampling gives him a flute. I wonder if this is supposed to be symbolic. But I have to be careful with reading into things too much lest I become like the snobs analyzing his films in the movie:
"What do you think the significance of the Rolls Royce was?"
"I think it symbolized his car."

Sometimes you just have to appreciate something for what it is, without trying to dig around in its psyche for hidden meanings.

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