#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 Foolish Monkey on January 29, 2018 at 4:10pm

I don't watch woody allen's films not because I have a moral objection to him - it's because his vision has gone to shit since the soon yi business.  he's muddled and self conscious and overly psuedo intellectual and ultimately - unwatchable.  

I believe, with art, art stands alone.  artists channel - what's created comes through the vessel, the filter of skill and reason.   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 - if we're lucky.  most work is forgotten.  

I don't ever not think that woody allen and polanski are above the law, both of them should be in prison.  allen molested both his daughters, polanski gave a young girl drugs and alcohol and raped her.  

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.   polanski and chinatown - perversity wins. but even so, chinatown is a tour de force...a brilliant film that transcends the subject.  allen's films (I think) are imbalanced.   later polanski isn't particularly great - I think they both ruined themselves.  it could be self consciousness, it could be self justice. 

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 Foolish Monkey on January 29, 2018 at 6:25pm

=I spoke of what I thought of Manhattan some years after the soon yi affair.  I didn't mention what I thought of Manhattan the first time I saw it - which is beside the point.  This post is a discussion regarding works of art created by artists who are monstrous, not what I thought of a movie.  

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. 

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