Loosen up the dialogue. Forget the marks. Move around like a real person. Wear what you want to wear? That was a first. Aurore had style, but so did all the street-chic women livening up SoHo in the mid-seventies. They were the real costume designers of Annie Hall. Mariel Hemingway, as Tracy, the year-old girlfriend of twice-divorced year-old comedy writer, Woody Allen Isaac , is the stylish focal point of Manhattan.
Her uniform is a crumpled, over-sized shirt tucked in a flared midi skirt. Nearly 40 years later, Streep and Hemingway's looks are still setting the benchmark for how to do relaxed elegance whether your shirts and knits are from Uniqlo, J Crew or Armani. Collegiate chic, eat your heart out. T he cream boucle Chanel jacket is perhaps the most memorable item in the film, and it was created by Karl Lagerfeld especially for Blanchett.
And I just thought, 'oh my god,' and he just said 'For Cate, I'd do anything. When the jackets arrived, I said, 'How could he do this? Cate put it on and it was perfect. Her eclectic, beatnik style matches her mood swings, causing uproar in breezy sundresses, platform heels and boater hats. None of her looks would be complete without mussed up hair and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. With Cruz's latin spirit, the slip became sexy again.
H annah Mia Farrow and her family are a prime example of Eighties normcore fashion. The sisters favour patterned, button-up shirts, sweater vests, over-sized mannish coats and blazers, and brandless accessories. Nothing is ever too bright, brash or glamorous, exactly how the unpretentious style should be. She wears drop-waisted shift dresses, elegant s swimsuits, berets and flower-adorned hats resting on her short bob. For Allen, the truth clearly comes closest to the gap in language and speech.
How can you choose this life-style? Uh, two elderly women. Allen invents a stuttering poetics of insecurity, a poetics that suggests a world of unknown meanings and realities. And we have watched them go back and observe her relationship with a previous boyfriend as though viewing her past through their own In the scene between Alvy and Annie under consideration, language becomes chaotic. Brilliantly acted by Diane Keaton and supported by Allen, the scene thoroughly disrupts and distorts coherent discourse. Words and sentences are divorced from their apparent meanings.
Yet although Annie and Alvy come close to a prelinguistic level of communication, only a matter of degree rather than kind separates the use of language in this scene from its use in other scenes. Oh, hi. I have to say well. Oh, oh. God, Annie. She gestures with her hand Well. He Hang in there. Both the subtitles and incoherent and disjointed dialogue dramatize the discontinuous nature of experience and the ineluctable tension between language and the unconscious in the attempt to organize and order experience. This relationship of language, power, and dependence is clear when Annie furiously responds to catching Alvy spying on her.
The visual and literary work together. In effect, we see the park through their combined vision. Several scenes are especially important in their suggestion of such separation. Do you think we should, uh, go to that — that party in Southampton tonight? What — what do we need other people for? In effect, the situation dramatizes the dilemma of all lovers trying to incorporate the world within themselves and their relationship. Ironically, the scene following this acting out In this scene, Allen pulls out all of his visual and verbal stops.
Here, Allen inventively uses a split-screen technique to contrast the two families. The visual and verbal humor seems strongest when Mom Hall actually speaks to the people in the Alvy family frame. However, the humor operates according to the classic Freudian model already described as a disguise for latent aggressions and fears. The sound of shattering glass. Annie sits smiling bemusedly, but happily between Alvy, whose facial expression shows utter desperation and anguish, and Duane, who drives with intense concentration, looking through creaking windshield wipers that exacerbate the tension.
Obviously, death, insanity, and chaos are at the wheel while Annie seems oblivious to the situation and Alvy, feeling helplessly trapped, anticipates catastrophe. Other scenes in Annie Hall are also important for visual and verbal originality. Geographically they move into the different cultural and psychological environment of Brooklyn, but they also go back historically to an earlier time. In retrospect, they nostalgically visit parents, relatives, friends — a culture — long gone. The scene, which functions like a dream or fantasy, is cleverly constructed visually.
At the top of the picture in an adjoining room, the adult Alvy and his friends observe the whole scene. From a psychoanalytic perspective, the juxtaposition of the younger and older Alvy strongly suggests the permanent presence in our everyday lives of hidden forms of our infantile and adolescent past.
In essence, by returning to the family toward the end of the narrative, Allen takes us back to the origins of desire. The family as an unconscious element of desire engenders the displacement onto the present and the projection toward the future of a past that remains forever disguised in receding signs and symbols. For a further discussion of desire, see Sam B. Peter Brooks, Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative New York: Vintage, , provides a wonderfully coherent and thorough analysis of this approach to narrative, including an explanation of related terms, including those used frequently in contemporary cinematic discourse, diegesis and mimesis.
Marleen S. James Strachey ; rpt. New York: Norton, , p. McCann, p. Evil in the sense of willful and conscious malevolence usually has not intruded upon the worlds of Woody Allen. Probably not until Crimes and Misdemeanors does Allen engage forces of intentional harm and destruction. Evil functions in Annie Hall as part of existential absence. It is structural, linguistic, and intellectual, but rarely felt as lived experience with the possible exception of crazy brother Duane.
Manhattan also remains relatively free from malicious evil. Personal dishonesty and deceit are never far removed from all experience and relationships in Manhattan. Appearances of concern and commitment among friends only dissimulate latent jealousies, fears, and aggressions. Listening to him, we get inside his interior dialogue with himself as he projects an identity and then responds to it. Each attempt at such construction evokes humor because of its hyperbole. He was as. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat. He seems to have achieved his goal of creating a transcending authorial power.
In fact, of course, this opening achieves a very different effect of thoroughly undermining any transcendent authority. Rather, it subverts the possibility for such a representative voice or singular vision. First of all, the interior voices operate against each other.
The humor in the scene derives in part from the way the gap between self-image and reality exposes the intensity of his desire, thereby dramatizing his vulnerability and denying the superiority of one narrative voice. The words in and out of quotation marks engage in a democratic dialogue of multiple and competing voices. The visual creativity and musical power literally overwhelm the voices.
Instead of valorizing the narrative dialogue, the city scenes and the music engulf it. It marks a radical disjunction between the uncertainty of the voices and the power of the world around Ike. Attempting to construct himself as a strong subject in the midst of a mighty megalopolis, the narrator loses himself in the humor of his inadequacy.
Indeed, the scene suggests that an overreliance on words and language perverts and distorts experience and character. His treatment of the issue also serves to alienate Ike from his audience. Language, for Allen, externalizes and distorts. It E — e — e — everything really valuable has to enter you through a different opening. In citing this comment made by Allen to an interviewer for Time magazine, Joan Didion attacks Manhattan for proffering a shopping center for emotions and prolonged adolescence. Didion may be, as Graham McCann suggests, fusing Allen with his characters, an issue in much of his work.
After all, he must share responsibility for his unhappy separation from the people he once loved.
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Also, his literal position in this particular scene — prone on a couch talking into a tape recorder, which functions as a substitute psychiatrist and secretary — suggests his own sickness as well as a surrender to dehumanized, mechanical forces he supposedly detests. The recorder embodies the physical detachment of speech and language as well as the absence of human connection during yet another moment of crucial need. The visual counterpart to this kind of speech for Allen in Manhattan, of course, can be found in the highly innovative use of the Scope-screen.
Indeed, the Scope-screen functions as a powerful visual metaphor for the world of inarticulate fragmentation and distortion that language renders. As Douglas Brode says: It suggests a kind of natural beauty and range to this unnatural urban setting. We are at a crowded table, in a crowded restaurant, in a crowded city. With the important exception of the angelic face of Tracy, played by Mariel Hemingway, the faces of the other characters become distorted and disproportioned as in a carnival mirror.
Sometimes individual faces weirdly dominate the screen. Even the handsome face of Michael Murphy, who plays Yale Pollack, seems intrusive as it thrusts itself at the viewer, making the oxymoron of his name — the elite, WASP university and the ethnic association of his family name — into a palpable disruption. At other times, only half a face or a glass appears, illustrating further disruption. Furthermore, the banter and conversation are convivial and friendly, but the screen emanates a subtext with a different message. The picture, in a sense, is worth at least a thousand of the words of these people fooling each other.
In this scene, we are also disturbed and embarrassed by the age difference between the year-old Tracy and the year-old Ike. For purposes of this discussion, we almost could describe this visualization as the D-screen; it decenters, displaces, dislocates, and distorts. The screen in Manhattan not only misplaces, loses, and hides characters, it also cuts them up into pieces. Tops of heads disappear, obviously indicating mindlessness, and legs are fractured, suggesting a grouping of truncated grotesques.
People talk to invisible listeners or are observed by unseen eyes. Cripples of the physical and moral kind inhabit this visual island, this cinematic synecdoche of a sick society. Collaborating creatively with both his photographer, Gordon Willis, and his cowriter, Marshall Brickman, Allen continuously invents different uses for the Scope-screen for the scenes that comprise Manhattan. When Yale and Emily are alone in their apartment, the screen exaggerates the close quarters; it frames and thereby targets Yale as Emily questions him, and it allows the couple to hug on the left edge of the screen, abandoning the center and suggesting an irregularity in their relationship.
She walks briskly and the camera tracks her, ultimately placing Ike, who is lurking in a doorway to question and challenge her over a forthcoming book about their marriage, within the frame. The tracking continues so that the physical motion becomes an accelerated externalization of the psychological energy behind the verbal exchanges between Streep and Allen. As she The Scope-screen visually dramatizes the condition of desire or the sense of detachment between internal and external experience.
The closer the Scope-screen takes us to Isaac and his most intimate relationships and most comfortable environmental spaces, the more alienated and detached he becomes. Allen exploits the screen to convey two contradictory conditions, separation and distance, even in confrontation with their opposite, connection and involvement. We learn an enormous amount about him here simply by seeing his place or, in this case, absence of place.
The scene makes explicit what before had only been implied. First of all, we see the important signs of his professional success. Large, expensive, and stylishly decorated, the apartment provides a properly fashionable living space for a creative personality and successful television writer like Ike. The range of the Scope-screen captures the essence of the apartment and, in so doing, the internal landscape of a way of life.
While the staircase to the right is bathed in light, at the other end of the screen the living room is relatively dark with one lamp and a light emanating from an adjoining room. Such lighting and contrast between dark and light spaces unsettle the scene, helping to establish the mood of separation and distance. In contrast, Tracy sits comfortably on the couch, apparently at home in what are obviously familiar surroundings.
However, she seems barely distinguishable as a person in this setting. Ike approaches from the staircase on the right, almost coming from another world. In between them, a gray wall that hides the kitchen stands out as a kind of dead space on the screen. This visualization of dislocation dramatically contradicts and undermines the ostensible feeling of cozy familiarity between Ike and Tracy.
Their conversation in this scene also sustains the visual theme of separation, while the distance in their ages dramatizes differences of feeling and commitment. Ironically for being situated on a screen of dislocation, their talk is all about using and sharing space. She wants to stay in the apartment — just as Annie initiated the idea of sharing an apartment with Alvy — and develop their relationship, while he clearly wants space, space that we already have described as alien and decentered.
Tsch, so get dressed because I think you gotta get outta here. As the scene ends, they walk up the staircase holding hands and exchanging teases about popular culture and age difference. On the one hand, it is charming. On the other hand, the Scope-screen has helped to expose a whole dimension of meanings and feelings.
As in the opening sequences of Manhattan and the skyline, the Scopescreen also expresses extraordinary beauty. This is generally considered to be the case for the presentation of the evening when Ike and Mary meet at a party and stay together to walk and talk. They end up together on a bench by the 59th Street Bridge, looking over the river and watching the sunrise. Undoubtedly, this is a moving and effective scene. Figure 2. Courtesy of United Artists. How radically different are these versions of the same thing.
The couple and the dog are dwarfed by an imposing, extraordinary force of great physical power and thrust. The vertical structure on the far left beyond the bridge harshly disrupts the visual harmony and contributes to the feeling of disjunction about the couple. Moreover, the. We never see the couple engaged in their conversation, but only hear their voices since their backs are to the camera and the viewing audience. In addition, their sudden sense of personal engagement occurs in the context of what we already know about them and the relationships and experiences they bring to this romantic moment.
Just as the bridge itself arches off into a distant fog and haze, so also one envisions a relationship ultimately going nowhere. It is the bridge on which he encounters death in the form of a hearse, a bridge to oblivion. Even the song that provides additional background, Someone to Watch Over Me, puts the mystery of the bridge in the place of the famous advertisement of old Dr. Accordingly, the scene entails a perfect prolepsis of ultimate failure. At least as exciting visually is another scene between Mary and Ike at the Hayden Planetarium, where once again Allen exploits the Scope-screen to express the decentered and displaced nature of experience.
Here, the universe — or at least the part of it that the great planetarium by Central Park can contain — becomes the metaphor for the human condition as lived by Ike and his friends. Their presence then socializes the world of the. However, the planets move according to laws of nature and astronomy, following very precise mathematical formulas. In contrast, these people are propelled by far more mysterious, hidden forces of human emotion and desire. Thus, as Isaac and Mary — whose very names suggest religious and ethnic distance from each other — walk into the interior of the planetarium, they move from well-lit anterior rooms into the darkness of outer space exhibits.
Visually they become part of outer space. For Allen, of course, that blindness often originates in unconscious forces and sexual ambivalence. In the preliminary stages of what will be a short-lived affair, Mary and Ike deal with each other at the planetarium as distant objects, shadows in an alien, frozen universe in which nothing human could live.
The Scope-screen becomes the perfect vehicle for exhibiting and dramatizing such absence and distance. Total blackness takes us into one frame. A brilliant moon moves to the left, taking over three-quarters of the screen, top to bottom. Out of the darkness emerges Ike and Mary, talking about the costs that accrue from.
While Mary and Isaac continue to talk about her marriage to a man who in turn cheated on her, a stranger with a camera enters the Scope-screen and comes between the couple and the audience, pauses, bends slightly at the knee, and takes a picture in the direction of the audience. The vagarious intrusion adds an element of additional distance to the scene. As the couple continues to speak and walk, their darkened bodies seem like shadows following the voice-overs that add to the fragmentation of mind and body.
He concludes the scene with a light but brilliant touch that particularizes this visual choreography. Speaking in whispers, Ike and Mary are face to face. I might give you a call or — Do you have any free time? A subsequent scene that evening between Ike and Tracy reveals that Ike in fact had no plans. Yet the little lie, which is only secondarily related to his ambiguous commitment to Tracy, perfectly underscores the visualization of distortion and deception at the planetarium. He uses his lie about the call as a way to tell another lie in order to see Mary that night.
He wants me to review the new book on Virginia Woolf. Can you believe it? Is that okay with you?
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In any event, the lies both Ike and Yale tell to women make a perfect verbal commentary upon the visualizations at the Hayden Planetarium of darkness and distortion that Allen engineers on the Scope-screen. The scenes emphasize spaces at the ends of the screen within the dramatic contexts of the situations, thereby powerfully illustrating the absence of a stable center in both social and psychological relationships.
The scenes also emphasize the idea of alienation I have been calling displacement. Interestingly, a verbal lie once again accentuates the visual portrayal of deception. Ike and Mary are working separately at opposite ends of his new apartment and the Scope-screen. Instead of working together, sharing their individual tasks in a collective way, they occupy separate spaces, almost separate compartments. As he lies on his bed writing and she types in the living room, they communicate through open door space and thin apartment walls.
The visual image exaggerates the separateness and detachment since they still can hear each other talk and work to some degree. The image thus dramatizes the psychological and emotional isolation of their situation. The scene shifts from left to right and back again as they talk. On the left side, Ike is seen through a half-open door to the right of which is another door and then a block of space that further separates him from Mary in the living room. The effect is one of extreme fragmentation. The block of wall space is an inherent eyesore and inevitable frustration. In fact, she seems more than crammed into the space, but literally crushed by the oppressive gray space.
The apartment exudes an unsettling, impinging atmosphere in terms of both physical space and personal interaction. Even the relatively minor distraction of the jingling telephone adds to the general disorder. Listen — uh, could we meet for coffee? The cut to Yale making the telephone call is perfect. We hear Yale talking to Mary, but we see a Park Avenue street scene from the vantage point of the intersection. The only immediately visible presences are the people crossing the street. Then we realize that to the extreme right of the screen must be Yale in his own prison of the phone booth that stands inconspicuously on the corner.
The telephone booth is so narrow and so removed from the center of the frame, which concentrates on the street, that it I say Yale must be using this telephone booth because he in fact remains only barely discernible. The camera never closes in on him. Ike, of course, stays in the dark, so to speak, unaware of the meaning for his future of the apparently petty annoyance of the call.
This visual image constitutes a comic use of the Scope-screen and immediately precedes the phone call in the apartment. While Mary and ex-husband chat, Ike moves offscreen to observe. Although totally outside of the frame, the obvious presence of his look renders the scene very funny.
I read in one of the psychoanalytic quarterlies. Not even an Incomplete, right? Truly, Allen learned and grew from what he created and studied. Rather than developing one narrative consciousness and voice and constructing one subjective position as in Annie Hall, in Manhattan Allen drastically broadens the arena of desire to several different characters and relationships.
Through these characters, Allen explores the nature of desire itself. Just as the camera shots and images present destabilization and displacement, so the characters and relationships in Manhattan establish a diversity of voices and subjects related to desire. In other words, Allen achieves a dialogic exchange of characters and positions that sustains the multiplicity of his visual imagination. Visual diversity and complex characterizations function creatively together.
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Bakhtin intends, of course, to reveal the contradictory and oppositional forces inherent in all hegemonic ideological systems. It is important to recognize these as relationships of desire, situations of psychic displacement rooted in the unconscious, as opposed to the humorous sexual exploits that are played mostly for laughs in his earlier works. In addition, the intense male bonding between Yale and Isaac remains implicit and important in the subtext. With so many relationships, the structure of narrative desire in Manhattan must necessarily differ from Annie Hall, where a kind of structured chaos organizes narrative desire as the story breaks conventional temporal and spatial patterns.
However, in Manhattan Allen artfully parallels the progress of these relationships, moving carefully in and out of them. He interweaves the subnarratives to construct the larger narrative that comprises the movie. Together they entail the Freudian master narrative of desire, the unconscious, and retrospection. In essence, then, the visual presentations of emotional and social situations in Manhattan are rooted in the democracy of desire.
Inherently unstable and disruptive, the relationships are capable of exploding into a sexual and emotional chain reaction of pain and loss. Thus, these relationships incorporate an ideology of uncertainty and indeterminacy into the very structure of Manhattan just as the Scope-screen also constitutes an ideology of form. She also is the most unstable and disruptive. Indeed, her uncertainty regarding sexual choice and love probably establishes the paradigm for sexuality in Manhattan. I — I give the whole thing. I mean, what —. Sighing Jesus. You know, I — I knew you were I — you know, I.
Indeed, her efforts to achieve legitimacy and authority as an intellectual and individual graphically dramatize obstacles facing women of both a psychological and social sort that still obtain. Her attitude toward herself as illustrated dramatically by her self-consciousness about beauty emphasizes such internal and external obstacles. Oh, what is pretty anyway? I mean, I hate being pretty. The point. You know, we could — we could do very well. I — it sounds terrible. Does your love for me always have to express itself sexually? What about other values, like warmth and spiritual contact?
A hotel, right? I think I may have an interview with Borges. I — I — I told you that we met before when he was here. Her remark reveals her own lack of regard for her work by treating it incidentally. While both comments are clearly meant to be taken humorously, from a psychoanalytic point of view they intimate a basis in the unconscious for her narcissism and dependency.
Mary emerges as an important character who embodies a serious dilemma in a world that still resists the social and personal challenge to construct serious alternatives for the independence of women. Understandably, then, Emily is the least developed and least interesting of the women in Manhattan. She stands as a kind of negative extreme. Allen clearly intends to propose Tracy as a product of contemporary culture, someone beyond the experience and sexual guilt of his own generation.
When he condemns the extramarital relationship between Yale and Mary as being opposed to his own values and upbringing, she modernizes his viewpoint. I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics. You were brought up on drugs and television and the pill. She tells him. Sexually uninhibited and aggressive, she also feels more comfortable than the others with her emotions. In spite of her modern ideas about the impermanence of relations, Tracy wishes commitment, further suggesting qualities of maturity and complexity to her character.
Her love, as he realizes at the end, comes closest to being the true one for him. However, it is true only in a thoroughly idealistic and narcissistic sense. Reality, thereby, also proves Ike correct because the love with Tracy cannot be realized. Intelligent, intense, and insightful, Tracy nonetheless still remains impossible. Fittingly for such a moment in the park, Ike buries his head in her shoulder and kisses her hand — almost as Gatsby might have done. I think her ultimate disavowal of this role suggests that Allen indeed may be proposing her as a symbol of freedom and love in the future, as did Hawthorne with Hester Prynne.
Interestingly, a bar on the door decapitates the image. Such desire can kill her. In comparison to the position in society of the other women in Manhattan, Jill seems the most marginalized, although she shares with all of them an existence as the object of masculine desire. Her moments on the screen are indeed brief, making for an unfortunate waste of the enormous presence and power of Meryl Streep. The point takes a sharper edge in the immediate conversation when Ike arrives to take his son out and responds with surprise that Willy likes to draw since neither parent draws.
Suddenly the margin shifts to include Ike rather than the women. However, the movie clearly suggests that his sense of threat existed long before the public exposure of the book. Apparently, Ike at one point tried to run Resistance to that complexity regarding sexuality and desire helps account for the vision and the pervasiveness of displacement and decentering in Manhattan. The movie suggests that in matters of desire and sexuality, there are no simple answers.
Moreover, the complexity also must include the friendship of Ike and Yale. Initially, it keeps him from seriously dating Mary. It forces him to apologize with embarrassment for his affair with Tracy before he had dealt with the implications of that affair for himself. Two special relationships have been violated through their betrayal of him.
The words are powerful and correct, but Ike cannot separate himself from their meaning. Probably the more realistic model stands next to Ike in the form of a skeleton. It uses the visual renditions of fragmentation and incompletion to present the uncertainty of psychic and social existence, and it argues that even as divided people and cultures, we must address the moral dimension of experience.
We have gone full circle. The dialogic exchange ends as His journey, however, has made him pregnant with possibility. I thought it would be interesting if a character came off the screen. I thought it was material that it would be worth it to work a year on. In the review, Canby said: To be blunt about it, The Purple Rose of Cairo is pure enchantment. Like other reviewers who were excited by the movie, Canby also praised the acting of the cast, including Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Dianne Wiest, Van Johnson, and Edward Herrmann, among others, as well as the contribution of Gordon Willis, the director of photography, and Stuart Wurtzel, the production designer.
Allen has managed to achieve — with seeming effortlessness — the kind of comic destiny he demonstrates in his best prose stories and sketches. He has mastered his own, very particular kind of movie making, which, unlike writing or even doing a stand-up act in a nightclub, is an immensely complicated collaborative endeavor involving other actors and highly skilled technical artists on the order of Gordon Willis, his favorite cameraman. Films, he suggests, often provide the terms and categories for seeing and understanding life.
In Zelig, as in Take the Money and Run, Allen uses a mock documentary form to tell the story of Leonard Zelig, the human chameleon, whose desire to conform and gain acceptance from others causes him to take on the attributes and traits of the people around him to the point of becoming black around African Americans or instantly acquiring the technical skills of associates and acquaintances such as doctors, dentists, musicians, and pilots. As Graham McCann says: The technical brilliance of Zelig is undeniable: Allen has engrained himself in the old movie images.
At this juncture, Zelig the joke becomes an object of genuine pity and concern. Saul Bellow explains the point in a mock interview that parodies conventional sociological jargon and critical analysis: Yes, but then it really made sense, it made all the sense in the world, because, although he wanted to be loved. Pauses immersion in the mass and. Eudora Fletcher, played by Mia Farrow. His wife and therapist, Dr. Fletcher, who was responsible for his early but temporary cure, spots him at the rally behind a gesticulating Hitler and attracts his attention.
In a remarkable and Thus, Allen makes a parody of a Hollywood movie about Zelig within Zelig. Such technical versatility and dexterity not only comment on Allen the director, but also suggest a subtextual theme of the power of the media itself, especially as it can be used for propaganda and destruction by Fascist forces. Allen analogizes the way the mind perceives and deals with reality and the way the camera operates to record reality. In other words, Allen places the issue of the formation of individual personality and character in the context of the perception and construction of reality through the media.
As in Annie Hall and Manhattan, in Zelig the social and cultural operations of the camera and media relate to the dynamic structure and development of the individual psyche. The camera cannot provide the security the psyche craves. As a chameleon he naturally has been assuming the guise of a psychiatrist until she artfully turns the tables on him by lying and saying that she is not really a doctor. Now in agitated confusion, he gets physically ill, realizing he has to change from being a make-believe doctor to a patient.
It is a funny and precious moment about the fragile barriers between sanity and health as well as the psychological perceptions of reality. The scene works, of course, because of the developing relationship between Zelig and Fletcher. We know that Eudora really is the doctor with the degree and professional training. However, we also anticipate her love for Leonard that crosses over professional boundaries so that, in a sense, she ultimately shares his sickness with him. This serves to sustain the visual and thematic point about psychic sickness and reality. Bellow says: The thing was paradoxical because what enabled him to perform this astounding feat was his Onscreen, looking at the offscreen interviewer ability to transform himself.
Therefore his sickness was also at the root of his salvation and. However, through the Fletcher—Zelig love affair, Allen emphasizes individual psychology and personal relationships as a counterforce to fascism, while associating the psyche with the operations and manipulations of the media. Chaplin ingeniously displays these forces, which ultimately reached their most destructive potential in his portrayals of Hitler in The Great Dictator and the lady killer in Monsieur Verdoux.
The Tramp enters the belly of the whale of the modern industrial establishment, which ingests him into the internal workings of its vast machinery. He becomes physically and psychologically At the same time, in his artistry Chaplin converts oppression into artistic expression and renewal.
He dominates and exploits the cruelty of the industrial system by making the process funny. As a result, he also makes a statement about the power of art to revolutionize the environment and of the individual spirit as embodied by The Tramp to survive under terribly oppressive circumstances. Similarly, in his own way, Allen in Zelig challenges our modern times through his rendering of the interaction of art and propaganda with psychoanalysis and sociology. The photographic image and the cinematic process, including its entire network of publicity and distribution — as dramatized by the use of footage of William Randolph Hearst at San Simeon with early Hollywood celebrities — also absorb and consume the individual, undermining personal identity and manipulating needs and desires.
It both exposes and transforms and thereby offers a promise of regeneration in spite of its somber message about the social and economic powers that affect us. Working through these issues artistically and intellectually, Zelig provides an introduction to The Purple Rose of Cairo in which the complex relationship between art and reality invades a movie theater in New Jersey and changes peoples lives.
Zelig works so well partly because its humor undermines our complacency about photographic and documentary reality. Zelig, of course, explodes this notion, but the humor perhaps constrains the potential level of insecurity the movie could engender. You mark my words! The metaphor, of course, for the comparison between the world of acting and the world of reality goes much farther back, perhaps most famously to Shakespeare in As You Like It II. In Shakespeare the metaphor conveys the tragedy of our inability to grasp and control experience.
The same applies to The Purple Rose of Cairo. The major achievement in The Purple Rose of Cairo, however, She is an addict, using Hollywood as a substitute for her miserable life. The continuous stream of complaints thrown at her by her boss and the customers attests to her lack of concentration and her inability to function. The utterly impossible act of a character leaving the screen to talk to an infatuated fan already has psychological validity and artistic coherence. Monk is a major factor in bringing these worlds together. Partly owing to the marvelous performance of Danny Aiello, the character of Monk is an extraordinarily successful achievement for Allen.
Nearly every word Monk utters has impact and force. There are few of the gaps and stutters that constitute the speech of other Allen characters. No speech impediments mitigate his aggressive dominance. Also, not just his speech, but his very presence on the screen emanates power. Every scene involving him has dramatic validity. Embodying the reality that Cecilia wishes to escape, he seems to become part of the urban landscape that helps to determine their lives.
In addition, the violence at the core of his nature operates as a continual threat. The violence either becomes manifest or seethes just below the surface, creating a tension of its own in his dealing with Cecilia. The combination of dialogue and drama always rings true.
He could not be better as a foil to earn our sympathy for his perennial victim, his wife. The epitome of a street bully, he is the perfect heavy. Furthermore, each scene with Monk contains a nuance in the form of a gesture, action, or dialogue that makes it special. I glad to see you. You got any dough? When she questions him, he reacts with a childlike defensiveness. All right? His implied separation of the world of men and women is simple and quite appropriate for the scene. I worry. As he turns to rejoin his friends, the action is again right on the mark. Again, the pattern of speech and the physical action are perfect.
Because of before? Because of Olga, is that it? Because that would be funny. That would be ridiculous. I need you. And, and you know I love you. I drink, I get crazy. In another scene, Aiello rises from the table with a gesture of impending violence that has the power of a blow. This occurs when she returns to the apartment following her afternoon with Tom. Burps You gotta give me one of your special rubdowns. Planning a secret rendezvous with Tom, she stutters that she cannot immediately minister the massage. Cecilia breaks into a stream of stutters, searching her mind for an excuse to explain leaving the apartment that night.
At last she conceives of the lie of a baby-sitting job that night. Monk looks down in judgment of her, observing her nervousness, seemingly poised between a blow or a verbal assault. With Monk as her handle onto reality, Cecilia turns to the movies for a little adventure and romance. The characters are forced to deal with a new reality. Of course, the situation is clearly impossible. In terms of current critical concerns, Henry acquires a new insight into the It is not just that the worlds on opposing sides of the screen reverse themselves, but that both environments require forms of textual analysis.
Scripts and screenplays change as do environments and contexts, but interpretation persists. At the core of the joke is the paradox of uncertainty about reality and our dependence upon others of equal ignorance and helplessness to participate in a process of truth seeking.
But I made him live. No matter how. Ironically, the real world to Gil the actor is Hollywood, the epitome of the unreal. I want to be free! I want out! Gesturing, looking at the altar Irving Sachs and R. Cecilia corrects him, making his point. No, think for a minute. Gesturing A reason for everything. The writer and God determine meaning through the power of narrative to create and structure the beginning, middle, and the end of the story.
Unknown to them, their fate has been sealed. The real god of Hollywood, Raoul Hirsch the producer, and his entourage have decided to destroy the movie to prevent any future escapes. Eagerly expecting a future of exactly what they have experienced in the past, the characters of The Purple Rose of Cairo face the apocalypse at the hands of a chagrined god worried about lawsuits and complications.
The studio will turn off the projector and burn the prints and the negative p. Again, Allen offers a joke that cuts like a knife. He simply lets us remember the prospective catastrophe as the characters cheerfully head toward oblivion. Unable to participate in the writing of their own stories, the characters are fated to either slavery or destruction. Gil, of course, runs off to Hollywood, leaving her standing not at the altar, but at the movie marquee.
Moreover, Allen also does not give her the same chance granted Allan Felix in Play It Again, Sam to reinvent and reconstruct herself at the movies. We have seen her as a terrible victim, but we also have recognized vivaciousness, intelligence, and charm in her. Her inner life will continue to be at the movies, presumably in imitation of those millions who actually suffered such a fate during the Depression.
In The Purple Rose of Cairo, he teases about the audience that balks over such a requirement. Clearly, Allen hopes The Purple Rose of Cairo will evoke interpretation from its audience as well as laughs. Indeed, his awareness of these issues of media, reality, and freedom seems apparent in his comments to Eric Lax. Brode, p. And yet things are also different. Hannah and Her Sisters can be seen as a metaphor for the Woody Allen canon. It is the same and yet different, literally achieving a new plateau of artistic range and unity.
My hope would be to keep fresh. People perceived early on in my career that I was able to make funny movies that would make them laugh. The internal pressure Allen feels to strive for such new forms of creative expression anticipates the wishes of some in his audience, while at the same time encountering an almost physical resistance from others.
But each time you do that you run the risk of alienating part of your audience. And I do alienate them a certain amount of the time. To his detractors, Allen merely repackages and markets the breakthroughs of his many predecessors from Welles to Bergman whom Allen himself recognizes and acknowledges. Such Allen partisans point to the opening of Hannah and Her Sisters as a testimony to his originality.
Figure 3. I dream about her. Oh, Lee. Sighing What am I going to do? Before, when she. Jesus, I, I thought I was gonna swoon! The decor of the apartment as well as the dress and body language of the guests at the party all suggest comfort, conviviality, and a degree of privilege. She seems to introduce an alien or disruptive element into the festive Thanksgiving atmosphere. The hallway through which Holly enters is angular and visually jarring.
It fragments and breaks up what previously had been a scene of connection and continuous movement. In the kitchen, Allen switches gears, so to speak. Instead of continuing to emphasize visualizations to develop the potential of the scene, he turns to humor, dialogue, and the effective acting of Farrow and Wiest. Here, Allen maturely contextualizes his humor within a world of tensions, relationships, and characterizations, thereby advancing his technique of fusing drama and comedy that was so celebrated in Annie Hall and Manhattan.
Also, in this scene a special delicacy and subtlety in both the direction and action manifest themselves. Hannah responds truthfully that she never gets upset over money and would be insulted over any undue concern about the issue. Indeed, if money were the matter, it would be a relatively easy situation to deal with for both Hannah and Holly. Also, the subject of the question and its swift exposure of Holly make it perfect for the dramatic and humorous effect that Allen wishes to create.
This aspect of her personality will grow more important in the movie as a source of estrangement for Hannah from her family and those she loves. Her actions and gestures evoke insecurity and embarrassment and dramatize her position within the family as a middle-aged, middle daughter who still has not found a place for herself. I swear. She then launches into a more detailed explanation about her future plans to advance her acting career, describing how she will combine both the new catering business at night with auditions and acting classes during the day.
Thus, in very brief interactions within a prolonged opening scene, Allen uses dialogue both humorously and dramatically to delineate these central characters and their history with each other. They are a show business couple and the family expects them to entertain. The visual and dramatic marginalization of Evan and Norma highlights their absence, their lack of central involvement in the midst of a family celebration for Thanksgiving. Hannah, not her mother, occupies the center of this family and keeps it together.
The parents are decorative. They are more show than substance, both as people and parents. With you as her mother. She thinks: She was so beautiful at one time, and he was so dashing. Both of them just full of promise and hopes that never materialized. In the opening scene, the setting with Norma and Evan at the piano disguises the rivalry and anger that exists between them and entails a countermovement to the tensions that consistently crop up during the evening for the other characters.
Fittingly, Hannah accidentally hurts and pricks Holly with a toothpick as Elliot and Lee meet alone in the bedroom. The developing attraction between Elliot and Lee remains barely below the surface. Actually, it was of me. Thus, Mickey enters the conversation as an alien character who still retains some relation to the group. In many ways, the structure of Hannah and Her Sisters compares to that of Manhattan.
In this case, of course, the women are sisters, which adds an intensity and intimacy to their relationships. The bond of sisterhood gives them an inherent and important connection to each other, which the women in Manhattan really lacked. In essence, to establish this line of development, Allen simply extends in dramatic and temporal terms the relationships that already have been presented in the opening scene. They really cannot escape each other psychologically or emotionally. There is a true sense of sisterly and family relationships in his Hannah and Her Sisters is their movie in a way that Manhattan never quite becomes the possession of the women in it.
With its detailed study of the inner and external lives of these women, Hannah and Her Sisters structures what has been his admitted lifelong obsession with women. I had a sister, female cousins, a mother with seven sisters. I was always surrounded by women. In addition to developing these parallel narrative structures involving Mickey, Elliot, Frederick, and even Evan to some extent, Allen also creates unity and control over his material through several other brilliant techniques and motifs.
The contrivance of titles as introductions to sequences of narrative works to great effect. Each narrative sequence contains its own world of action and character development. Different sequences and the characters within them have their own musical themes that play The music, therefore, proffers a method of continuity and development of both mood and tone as well as theme and characterization. Seemingly different in so many ways, the story of Mickey in fact is the comic counterpart to their individual quests.
He functions as a comic mirror image for their strife. It remains their story, with Mickey providing comic relief and narrative energy. Of course, his nervousness will only turn out to be different in kind from the problems the others face. It also keeps him from visiting his children. The hypochondria is a great Although it keeps Mickey up at night and drives him to utter panic and distraction, it is impossible to take the idea of his illness seriously.
Foreign objects are plugged into his body in the attempt to locate serious illness. His medical prisons are mere extensions of the prisons of other aspects of his life. We observe him with laughter, but part of us also goes with him into those imposing machines of medical technology. Thus, we naturally also appreciate his jump for joy when he learns that a wrong diagnosis now leaves him in good health.
At this point, when the joke should be over, Allen puts a new twist on it. In other words, he invents a form of mental or philosophical illness that prevents him from truly examining the psychological roots of his unhappiness, which concern the absence in his life of love, not religion.