Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Woody's European Tour

Let me start by saying that I am a Woody Allen fan. I know there are those who aren’t; who think his is an overrated filmmaker. I am not one of those. There are those who like his early work but not the later; those who like specific films but not all of them; those who like the comedies but not his ‘Bergman’ stuff. Again, I am not one of those. I like Woody Allen, the filmmaker. I don’t know him personally, so I can’t speak to that, nor do I care. It is the films that I value. I saw the latest of his ‘European Tour’ films last week: To Rome With Love. I liked it. I didn’t think it was as well done as Vicky, Christina, Barcelona, but I liked it nonetheless. I also liked Midnight in Paris. Woody continues to be a wonderful writer, with imaginative scripts. But what I like most is the performances he gets from his actors. Film after film, he is able to attract terrific actors, who work in true ensemble fashion and give wonderful performances. Say what you will about some of the films that may not work as well as others, but the performances are always good. Since I have never been on a set with him, I don’t know how he does it. But I suspect he puts good actors in an interesting setting with other good actors and creates the environment where they evoke these believable, natural performances. Woody may subscribe to the John Huston school of directing. Huston said that 90% of directing is casting. Put the right actors in the right roles in the right setting.... Everyone in ‘Rome’ is terrific, including Woody. I look forward to whatever city is next on the European Tour, although I am not certain that Pagliacci sung while showering on stage can ever be topped.

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