Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hollywood Ending

It's been ten years since Woody Allen's character has made a good movie. He's derisively referred to as an "auteur genius." But when his ex-wife gives him a chance to make a comeback movie, he's stricken with psychosomatic blindness.

It's interesting to note that ten years is how long Woody has been with Soon-Yi, his step-daughter whom he later married. Also the blindness of the movie was caused by his estranged relationship with his son. Which must mirror Woody's feelings about his own estranged son.

I've often suggested an autobiographical approach to reading Woody Allen's films. And I've been waiting to see how he would depict his relationship with his step-daughter. It's sort of a very delicate issue because on one hand, I know that a lot of people like to dismiss him as a pedophile and refuse to watch his movies on that basis. But I take a more practical view point in which I don't let any error of judgment in his personal life affect my viewing of his movies. Because in the end, I believe that Woody really wants to rewrite his life. To put a kind of Hollywood ending on the messy aspects of life that maybe he regrets. Although I don't really think he regrets being with Soon-Yi. But it is interesting that, given the chance to depict his Hollywood ending, he chooses to return to his ex-wife (whoever that may represent in Woody's actual life).

I don't think my interpretation is far-fetched. "In order to make movies, you have to think about the audience. You have to. Otherwise, you're just making movies for yourself, like artistic masturbation... You're a narcissist," one character says to Woody Allen. To which he replies: "I'm a classic narcissist then." Woody's movies aren't primarily made for us, for me to blog about them. They are made for himself, "to produce a kind of working through-situation so that [he] can get in touch with feelings [he] didn't know [he] had," as he said in Manhattan.

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