#MeToo, Flat-Footed Plot Devices, Maul Woody Allen

For years I have avoided his films, not out of any moral sensibility but as an aesthetic response to his increasing reliance on flat-footed, gratuitous deus ex machina plot devices (as in Blue Jasmin, and, earlier, in Match Point). Those devices speak to a serious diminution (if not a lazy surrender) of talent. The director's at-best questionable personal relationships trouble, but in a strange way, not as poignantly as I was repelled by the giving-up. The question, What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men, I shared in late 2017 in a terrific piece, which I share, again, below.

I take note here of a New York Times piece, published today, which appears to underscore how Allen's art is paying for his behavior. His four most recent films cost, together, well over $85M to make and cleared under $27M in North America. 

#MeToo appears to be having its way with Mr. Allen's success (as is his later films' reliance on heavy-handed plot coincidences). 

I cannot say I'm surprised or chagrined. 

--

from Paris Review:   What Do We Do with the Art of Monstrous Men?

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Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 29, 2018 at 7:30am

Good Monday!

Comment by Ron Powell on January 29, 2018 at 12:36pm

Read the article...

She seems much too self indulgent and self absorbed...

What would she say about the Mona Lisa if it came out that DaVinci had been "nailing" the woman in the painting since she was 12  years old? 

I doubt that she would stop to think that in DaVinci's time it wasn't uncommon for girls to be betrothed in their preteens...

What would she think of the genius of Shakespeare if it turned out that his concept of taming a shrewish woman was to fuck her into submission?

Does she eschew the words All men are created equal...", because Jefferson was fucking at least one of his slaves? 

Is Lincoln, "the great emancipator", diminished in her mind because, as it happens, he was a racist who couldn't and wouldn't accept the notion that black people were equal to white people?

Public personae and private profiles can cause great conflict and ambivalence amongst those of us who are trying to pay attention and make some kind of sense of it all...

Is there an objective standard or set of criteria against which all of human edeavor and achievement is to be measured?

OR

Are we left to our own devices and sensibilities in making judgments and forming opinions about who and what we are as individuals and who,  how, and what we choose use as the measures against which we determine for ourselves whether we are succeeding or failing as individual human beungs...

Which, by the way, in the end, turns out to be nobody's business but our own....

 

Comment by Ron Powell on January 29, 2018 at 1:23pm

Who could argue with that?
Comment by Ron Powell on January 29, 2018 at 1:28pm

They give Oscars for lines like this and the women in the audience applaud enthusiastically...
Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 29, 2018 at 4:11pm

Thanks Ron, FM/ :)

Comment by Ron Powell on January 29, 2018 at 4:26pm

@FM; "I believe, with art, art stands alone.  artists channel - what's created comes through the vessel, the filter of reason but the end result stands alone and has a life and a spirit of its own, and is judged on its merits.  long after we're dead, work is judged for what it is."

"after soon yi, I rewatched manhattan.  I was pretty disgusted - it's a visually beautiful movie, but it's a revolting subject and it's not handled with any depth or subtlety."  

The movie was either 'fine art' or disgusting and revolting trash  whether the soon yi matter occurred or came to light or not....

In other words, you should have been disgusted and revolted the first time you saw the film...

Comment by Ron Powell on January 29, 2018 at 5:46pm

A bit of a revealing Woody Allen time-line:

Soon-Yi Previn, was born in 1970

The Film "Manhattan", released in 1979

Allen's relationship with Mia Farrow 1980–1992

Revelations of Allen's relationship with Soon-Yi come to light in1992.

Soon-Yi was 9 years old and ostensibly unknown to  Allen when the film "Manhattan" was produced and released in 1979.

Allen's relationship with Ma Farrow didn't begin until 1980, a year AFTER Manhattan was released. No possibility of a romantic involvement with Soon-Yi who would have been 10 years old at the time the Allen/Farrow relationship began.

Conclusion:are The Woody Allen film "Manhattan" and his relationship with Soon-Yi are absolutely, totally, and completely independent of each other...

Therefore the film and the relationship should not be juxtaposed as though they occurred contemporaneously.....To do so is to commit/perpetrate or perpetuate a fallacy...

It simply could not have happened in a manner that is consistent with a legitimate interpretation, evaluation, or review of the film.in the context of an Allen/Soon-Yi relationship, or, being able to view the film as somehow accurately  reflective of Allen's life at the time of it's release...

Just to keep the record straight:

I am not a fan of Woody Allen, or his movies...

I never paid box office money to see any of them....

Comment by koshersalaami on January 29, 2018 at 7:32pm

I haven’t seen one of his movies in years. His early stuff was really funny and Annie Hall really is a masterpiece. I don’t remember being nearly as enameled with Manhattan. I was disappointed with Zelig, which was essentially one long gimmick. 

Comment by koshersalaami on January 29, 2018 at 7:52pm

I don’t know much about Soon-Yi but there’s one thing I do know:

She’s 47 years old and they’re still together. At some point she probably stopped being a victim, and at this point it’s pretty apparent that this isn’t all about youth and that the relationship has legs. The relationship obviously did not start morally, but that was then. Maybe it’s a Svengali thing, but I have my doubts. 

Comment by Ron Powell on January 29, 2018 at 8:11pm

@FM;

"I didn't mention what I thought of Manhattan the first time I saw it - which is beside the point." 

If that's so, then what's this?:

"after soon yi, I rewatched manhattan.  I was pretty disgusted - it's a visually beautiful movie, but it's a revolting subject and it's not handled with any depth or subtlety." 

Looks pretty much like some kind of review or evaluation of a particular movie to me...

"Annie Hall" was released in1977 and "Manhattan" in "1979".

Might it be possible that "Annie Hall" was "the best that he could do" and pretty much exhausted his capacity for creative film making, which begins to manifest in "Manhattan"?

In other words, maybe he reached his peak with "Annie Hall " in 1977, and was just plain burned out by the time "Manhattan" was released in 1979...

In my view, Allen was more a creature of the 60s and 70s than the decades going forward from 1979....

Question is, when did you or anyone else decide that Allen was a "monster" and that all of his movies, his complete body of work, should be viewed in that light?

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