Written and Directed by Robert E.Weide
Woody Allen: A Documentary does what it says on the tin; it gives it an insight into the singular human, the perenially death obsessed neurotic comedian, author, actor and prolific award winning filmmaker. It charts his early life from writing jokes for various New York newspaper columnists through his immensely popular stand-up career and brief transition into acting before demanding that for him to be in films that he would have to write and direct.
Writer/Director Weide is clearly a fan and even goes as far as using that trademark Allen title typeface to pronounce his highlight reel of Allen’s life, emphasizing the beloved signposts of Allen’s filmmaking career from Annie Hall to Midnight in Paris. Weide compiles a cross generational collection of producers, actors, critics, comedians, and even Allen’s sister as interview subjects to give us an insight into the man behind the persona. And finally there’s Allen himself, so familiar in his neurosis chiming in with a some self assessment.
It’s more of an appreciation of the man and validation of his contribution to the international film community and the filmic art form than it is a revelatory, inquisitive or investigative expose into the inner workings of the man. Allen’s “Sun Yi” controversy is a huge and notable part of his life that has affected public perceptions of the man that’s touched upon for ‘lip service’ to the event; but it doesn’t get bogged down in his personal life – it wants to stay focused on his body of work. There are some really great insights into his luddite and devolved process of typing on a typewriter and manually, cutting, pasting and stapling his scripts together. And Allen gives a great insight into his motivation to move out of absurdist, reflexive comedy and to remain in the realm of tragedy.
Woody Allen: A Documentary is an advertorial for Allen’s immense back catalogue of work and an affirmation of his re-emergence as a filmmaking powerhouse in the last decade. It’s a resoundingly positive documentary pat on the back and a collection of highlights that are good for those vaguely familiar with Allen – but not enough to quench his hard-core fans.
Woody Allen: A Documentary hasn’t been scheduled for release in Australia but in the U.K on the 8th of June 2012.