Daily Archives: July 25, 2021

Response to Patrick McGilligan’s Woody Allen Poll [slightly updated]

Preparing a book about Woody Allen, biographer Patrick McGilligan sent out a poll to me and many others, and here are my responses to his questions:

THE WOODY ALLEN POLL

1.  What five Woody Allen films do you hold in the highest regard?  

(List the five in any order.   One equal point will be assigned to each of your choices for the cumulative total to be listed from 100 participating critics and scholars.)

whatsuptl3

annie-hall

broadwaydannyrose

1989-oedipus-wrecks

mmm3

What’s Up, Tiger Lily?

Annie Hall

Broadway Danny Rose

Oedipus Wrecks 

Manhattan Murder Mystery

2.  What do you believe about the allegation by Dylan Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter, that he sexually molested her?   

            c.  Undecided.

3.  Have the Dylan Farrow allegations, or his marriage to Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn – either or both – affected your view of his film?

No.

4.  How has his over-all legacy been affected?  Comments are welcome.

I’ve always thought he was overrated (cf. my “Notes Toward the Devaluation of Woody Allen”). If his reputation and legacy as an artist have been tarnished by these unconfirmed charges or his marriage, this only illustrates the public’s lack of seriousness about art. I find Allen’s far more confirmable shame and embarrassment about his working-class origins and his middle-class values far more relevant to the importance and (lack of) depth of his work. Read more »

Vietnam Under Glass [THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA]

From the Chicago Reader (March 11, 1994). — J.R.

*** THE SCENT OF GREEN PAPAYA

(A must-see)

Directed and written by Tran Anh Hung

With Lu Man San, Tran Nu Yen-khe, Truong Thi Loc, Nguyen Anh Hoa, Vuong Hoa Hoi, and Tran Ngoc Trung.


Until fairly recently, films from the Chinese- and Vietnamese-speaking world have had next to no distribution here; so it’s worth noting that three such movies have been nominated for the foreign-language Oscar: Farewell My Concubine from Hong Kong, The Wedding Banquet from Taiwan, and The Scent of Green Papaya from Vietnam. The first two of these have already opened in Chicago, and the third — in some ways my favorite in the bunch — is starting a run this week at the Fine Arts. What overlapping interests — economic, cultural, artistic, ideological — are being served by this sudden upsurge in attention?

Interestingly enough, none of these Oscar nominees qualifies purely and unambiguously as a movie representing the country officially attached to it. Though Farewell My Concubine was produced in Hong Kong, all its action takes place in mainland China, and it was directed by a celebrated “Fifth Generation” filmmaker, Chen Kaige. The Wedding Banquet, a Taiwanese-American coproduction, has a Taiwanese director, Ang Lee, but it’s set in New York City and much of its dialogue is in English.… Read more »