December 2, 2017

"When writing about [Woody] Allen’s recent movies, I haven’t addressed the over-all question of whether we can (or should) separate the artist from the art."

"I’ve always considered that idea absurd" — writes Richard Brody (at The New Yorker) — "because the very quality that makes movies worthwhile is how they express the personality, the character, the ideas, the experiences of their makers. The problem with learning about the artist from the art is that artists sometimes reveal themselves to be troubled, troubling people, and bring to light their ugly traits, ideas, or even actions. The depth of a complex work that deals with horrific but authentic aspects of life is sometimes found in the artists’ personal implications in those parts of life. There has always been something sexually sordid in Allen’s work...."

There has always been something sexually sordid about sex. Woody Allen famously asked and answered: "Is sex dirty? Only when it's being done right."

But Brody is tasked to review the latest Woody Allen movie. The ancient Allen — he's 82 — keeps cranking out a movie every year, with the help of the very best actresses — this time it's Kate Winslet — who don't shun him, presumably because the roles are luscious. The actresses must play the parts as written, but Brody can deviate from the usual movie reviewer stance, and this New Yorker piece is titled "Watching Myself Watch Woody Allen Films." So I find myself watching Brody watching. It's about Brody's feeling, his virtue, his being on the correct side of history, now that we're so obviously in the midst of The Reckoning.

Brody says he doesn't "remember reading about the accusations" that Allen had molested his daughter Dylan until he read Dylan's 2014 op-ed in the NYT.  He concedes:
It’s entirely possible that I had seen a headline or heard news back then but wrongly dismissed the allegations as the sort of rumor that’s spread during a bitter custody dispute.
I'm searching the NYT archive, and there were dozens of articles back in 1993, but yes, if you kept your distance, it looked like a bitter custody dispute. Notice how Brody inserts the word "wrongly." It was wrong to think, I will look away from this messy divorce, because now, in The Reckoning, you are supposed to care about what took place in private and respond when anguished women cry out for help.
Mia Farrow testified yesterday that her 7-year-old daughter, Dylan, was so distraught over the relentless attention of her adoptive father, Woody Allen, that she frequently screamed, "Hide me! Hide me!" when he came to visit her, and twice locked herself in the bathroom to keep away from him....

"He would creep up in the morning and lay beside her bed and wait for her to wake up," Ms. Farrow testified, as Mr. Allen sat a few feet away in the courtroom, scribbling notes and tearing pages from a legal pad. "I thought it was excessive. I was uncomfortable all along."
That's from "Farrow Says Daughter Became Distraught Over Allen's Relentless Attention," a NYT report from 1993.

In The Reckoning, you must show that you care, not just now, but in the past, when you thought it was okay to ignore what happened in private — who really knows? it's "he said, she said" (as people used to say all the time in the old days). So Brody knows to say it would have been wrong at the time to dismiss the allegations if he heard them, but he doesn't remember hearing them. But he must have heard them. There were dozens of articles in the NYT in 1993. He had to have actively looked away. Brody is still seeking cover for his past callousness. How severe is this Reckoning? Does Brody have cover enough?

Brody has written an awful lot about Woody Allen. Just last year, he published "The Existential Genius of Late Woody Allen" (New Yorker). How much pressure does he feel to disaggregate himself — at this late hour — from Woody Allen? In his new article, Brody looks back on many Wood Allen films and notes the various sexual themes. He then makes an important — but really very obvious — point about art:
Of course, the recognition of evil feelings and impulses isn’t the sole dominion of criminals, and guilt isn’t solely the torment of gross offenders; the virtuous are all the more likely to feel guilt on the basis of ordinary personal failings, the inherent tensions and conflicts of even constructive family relationships, romances, and friendships, ordinary compromises at work, a sense of responsibility for mere day-to-day passivity, willed indifference, self-delusion. An artist who can illuminate those powerful, ubiquitous, destructive, morally complex feelings and dramatize them in a range of public and private contexts, from professional to artistic to domestic, is one whose work is worth experiencing. 
And then Brody expresses his annoyance that the artist who's doing the best work might not be fully innocent or even a very good person:
It’s a horrible paradox that the modern filmmaker who explores those emotions most relentlessly, most painfully, and most compellingly is one who is accused of doing things that would give him good reason to feel them.
Paradox?! It's not a paradox. I agree that it's horrible though. The person whose art you want to consume is bad. That's not at all surprising. That tends to be the way it goes with artists. You'll have to swear off art, if you want to keep yourself pure.

But Brody is a film reviewer. He has to see these movies, and he must believe that the job is to write about the thing that appears on the screen, not your moral judgments on the people who caused the thing to exist.

The new thing is "Wonder Wheel," and it has its anguished woman crying out for help:
Scattered throughout the film are hints of torments, as when Ginny suggests that Humpty has an “unnatural attachment” to Carolina; when Ginny, in a crisis of jealousy, berates Carolina with angry and frantic questions: “Did he try anything? Did he touch you? Did he take your hand? Did he do anything? Did he kiss you?”... “Wonder Wheel” virtually shrieks with confessional anguish and is scarred with indelible regret.
How to listen to these women crying out from inside a work of art? Brody might want to say: I'm an art critic and this is art and it's my role to watch movies and tell you about them. But like a character in a Woody Allen movie, I've got a conscience, and I'm watching me watching Woody.

Like a movie, an article about movies needs and ending an here's what Brody gives us:
The world that [Woody Allen] depicts in his films is one in which the powerful abuse their power to prey upon the vulnerable and, until now, have, for the most part, gotten away with it. It’s also a world that, because of the courageous testimony of women including, crucially, Dylan Farrow, is now coming to light and, perhaps, to change.
Is that a satisfying ending for "Watching Myself Watch Woody Allen Films." No! The character, Richard Brody, absents himself from his own story. He endorses the "courageous... women" and retreats back into the dark, as if now, he's done enough, and he can get back to watching those movies without having to watch himself.

114 comments:

Sydney said...

The cult of celebrity that is Hollywood makes it especially hard to divorce the artist from the work when it comes to films.

rhhardin said...

It's time for a movie about mob action self-entertainment.

John Lynch said...

How does he miss the irony that Ronan Farrow is the reason why Woody Allen is being re-evaluated?

rhhardin said...

The counter-reckoning. The Salem Bitch-Hunt.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The person whose art you want to consume is bad. That's not at all surprising. That tends to be the way it goes with artists.

Hitler would have made some fabulous paintings...

George M. Spencer said...

"For me," said Picasso, "there are only two kinds of women: goddesses or doormats." Hemingway was an ugly drunk and bipolar. Michelangelo stank because he never bathed or changed his clothes. Nelson Mandela approved of acts of sabotage. John Ford ran a casting couch, was a bully, and a drunk. Hitchcock ruined Tippi Hedren's career. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were cads. Louis Armstrong was a pimp before he became famous. John Lennon beat his first wife. Chuck Berry was a voyeur. Dickens threw away his wife and deported a son to Australia. J.D. Salinger dated at 14-year-old, and Jerry Lee Lewis married a teenager. Frank Sinatra nearly killed at least two people in alcoholic rages. It's a long list.

rhhardin said...

Or a film about how no woman has reached the age of consent, but they rule the world.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hitler tried again the following year and this time his drawings were so poor that he was not admitted to the test. For the ambitious young man this was, as he later wrote, a bolt from the blue. He had been absolutely convinced that he would be successful. According to his own account in Mein Kampf, Hitler requested an explanation from the rector of the academy.

"'That gentleman assured me that the drawings I had submitted incontrovertibly showed my unfitness for painting, and that my ability obviously lay in the field of architecture; for me, he said, the Academy’s School of Painting was out of the question, the place for me was at the School of Architecture.'

"The young Adolf was inclined to agree but quickly realized to his sorrow that his failure to graduate from high school might well block his entry into the architectural school."

Shirer, William L.. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (p. 16). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

Ann Althouse said...

"What he did was draw or paint crude little pictures of Vienna, usually of some well-known landmark such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the opera house, the Burgtheater, the Palace of Schoenbrunn or the Roman ruins in Schoenbrunn Park. According to his acquaintances he copied them from older works; apparently he could not draw from nature. They are rather stilted and lifeless, like a beginning architect’s rough and careless sketches, and the human figures he sometimes added are so bad as to remind one of a comic strip. I find a note of my own made once after going through a portfolio of Hitler’s original sketches: “Few faces. Crude. One almost ghoulish face.” To Heiden, “they stand like tiny stuffed sacks outside the high, solemn palaces.” 41 Probably hundreds of these pitiful pieces were sold by Hitler to the petty traders to ornament a wall, to dealers who used them to fill empty picture frames on display and to furniture makers who sometimes tacked them to the backs of cheap sofas and chairs after a fashion in Vienna in those days. Hitler could also be more commercial. He often drew posters for shopkeepers advertising such products as Teddy’s Perspiration Powder, and there was one, perhaps turned out to make a little money at Christmas time, depicting Santa Claus selling brightly colored candles, and another showing St. Stephen’s Gothic spire, which Hitler never tired of copying, rising out of a mountain of soap cakes. This was the extent of Hitler’s “artistic” achievement, yet to the end of his life he considered himself an “artist.”"

Shirer, William L.. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (pp. 19-20). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

rhhardin said...

In Jungian terms, every woman is completely innocent and gets nothing out of any relationship, and never even slightly enjoys it or has any part in what happens.

The narrative balancer is that the other party is pure evil, to match the pure innocence on the woman's side.

A partial archetype, it's called.

Michael K said...

"it looked like a bitter custody dispute"

A bitter custody dispute gave us Barack Obama, s there's that.

I don;t think too many people associate "Casablanca" with Michael Curtiz, the director

Hollywood is an ego plantation with growing egos everywhere.

In the great days of movies., everyone was a craftsman and the product was the thing. Great second unit directors like Don Siegel gave us "Dirty Harry" and taught Clint Eastwood the business.

james james said...

Actresses would meet with producers, saying they did not know of his sketchy morals.

Once they have made it, they will then star in movies with directors who they know have sketchy morals.

Did you hear the one about the dumb blonde actress?

She went to Ikea, looking to buy a casting couch.

- james james

rhhardin said...

How will the Reckoning deal with people who have a sense of humor.

Woody Allen is a problem there too.

rhhardin said...

The Anne Franck drum set is still hanging out there uncondemned. Or maybe it was condemned and I've just suppressed the memory.

David Begley said...

Woody Allen is a sick pervert. Why do the Coastal Elite pay so much sttention to him? And go to his movies?

America needs to come to grips with the fact that the Liberal Coastal Elites need to be completely discredited and removed from power. Trump winning was step one.

Every day is a win with Trump. Billions saved. Better lives.Lower taxes, CAGW scam blown up. Cheap energy. Rule of law restored. Criminal illegal aliens deported. Wall built.

james james said...

Kate Winslet has now starred in a Woody Allen film and a Roman Polanski film.

She also has starred in a film produced by Harvey Weinstein.

A trifecta, maybe.

She can keep the artist and the art separated quite nicely, it appears.

- james james

Michael K said...

"Every day is a win with Trump."

Which is why the left is determined to stop him, by assassination if necessary.

The hysteria over Flynn is just one indicator,

David Begley said...

Give us more “La La Land” and less comic book movies. No Woody Allen.

What are his numbers? Do his movies make money?

rhhardin said...

I've stopped buying Woody Allen movies because I've outgrown seriatim zany humor and the guy doesn't get the girl, which is the trite way they say a film has deep significance. It's the Nicholas Sparks effect except he always kills one off.

james james said...

If Woody were to remake his Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) now it probably would be a lot different.

Starring Kate Winslet or Penelope Cruz, probably. To begin.

- james james

David Begley said...

If Hillary would have won, then liberals Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein would still be conducting their Reign of Terror against women.

I thought women had a DUTY to vote for Hillary. A special place in HELL for not supporting Hillary.

The Dems only have CAGW and identity politics. That’s why they are against the Wall and support sanctuary cities. The jury nullification in the Kate Steinle murder captures the Dem zeitgeist.

rhhardin said...

Macbeth should be redone with a happy ending.

Bob Boyd said...

We'd better get started on teaching the next generation about this issue.
We could bring back Scooby Doo only instead of greedy real estate developers using fake ghosts to drive down prices, the meddling kids would expose sexual predators using spooks to drive frightened young people to climb into bed with them.
The predators could also be greedy real estate developers though. That would make sense.

rhhardin said...

I question Shakespeare's relationship with Anne Hathaway.

Fernandistein said...

I'm shunning Cherokee Indians because of their association with this scandal:

"Elizabeth Warren's Pow Wow Chow 'Cherokee' recipes were word for word COPIES of famous FRENCH chef's techniques"

A friend of mine's mom made a lot of money pretending to be a Mexican Indian rather than a Mexican Jew for her cookbook.

Bob Boyd said...

I wonder how long until The Reckoning comes to academia.

Fernandistein said...

I'm also shunning French chefs, as usual.

james james said...

A respect female French director made a movie called 'Romance' some years ago.

A lot of sex. Pushing le envelope, in the French way.

The lead actress didn't have a problem filming the sex scenes. It was Art.

But she did get upset when she found out later that the Italian actor in one of her sex scenes was actually Rocco Siffredi, Italian Porn Star.

Because now maybe it wasn't Art. Because he wasn't a 'real' actor.

Art is tricky. Trickier when sex is involved.

- james james

rhhardin said...

Reckoning is hard.

- Barbie

iowan2 said...

I read something a while back that looked at the history of entertainment. I showed that with rare exceptions, the performers were queers, and/or whores. Near kthe bottom of the class structure. Seems right today, no?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I never liked Woody Allen movies. I thought the characters were mostly stupid and could easily solve their trivial problems with a bit of common sense. Every one in his movies seemed to be very self absorbed, nervous types who would be most annoying to be around. I couldn't find any sympathy for the characters. The plots didn't seem to be very cohesive or have any depth. Just a vehicle for Allen and some others to show off.

It is funny now that the sexual scandals have come out that the liberals have discovered that it is NOW... OK to boycott or avoid performers based on their off screen lives, stances, actions and morals. The moral preening is hilarious.

Conservatives have quietly been doing this boycotting and turning away for ages. This is why the entertainment industry has taken some major hits. Dixie Chicks. Linda Rhonstadt. Barbara Streisand, and many others who have shot themselves in the foot with their public statements. Conservatives have just stopped going to movies or buying records from objectionable people. As a result the media has turned ever leftward and the cycle deepens.

rhhardin said...

I buy from the left. I don't expect them to be smart, just talented.

FIDO said...

I am waiting for them to get to music stars, particularly in the African American Community. No doubt that purge will be minimal since that community always shows the highest regard for the wants and needs of their women.

Love used to be war with both sides fighting. Now it seems a rite of seppuku by Liberal men as the Liberal women stand around and applaud.

Meanwhile we have this guy Brody doing the weasel denunciation thing. A modern day version of 'Benny' from the Mummy movies with Brendon Fraiser. Or perhaps some spineless aristocrat in post Revolutionary Russia, proving his bone fides to the New Order.

I would rather die as a White then crawl for the Reds.



David Begley said...

If Woody Allen is, in fact, the father of Ronan Farrow then Woody did one good thing. Ronan deserves a Pulitzer with ribbons.

(Ronan’s actual first name is Satchel. Probably Woody’s idea.)

rhhardin said...

Dixie Chicks Cowboy Take Me Away

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdkIJm65ytM

Musically it's great.

John said...

That makes an assumption that movies are "art" and that a director is an "artist"

What about the producer? What about the studio that funded and facilitated?

Are they artists too?

John Henry

John said...

I doodle occasionally

That makes me an artist. A very crappy one but an artist nonetheless

John Henry

FullMoon said...

Accidentaly watched "Blue Jasmine". Then, watched it again. Evil Woody did it. Even worse, Louis C.K. and Alec Baldwin in it. Great movie.

William said...

In the movie, Manhattan, Mariel Hemingway appears to be poised, sophisticated and, of course, young and beautiful. Unlike the other characters she's not been corrupted by the world. Her youth is a form of wisdom...... Horseshit. Mariel Hemingway has written about how confusing and awkward it was to be hit on by Woody Allen. She was truly inexperienced. She was not attracted to him and did not know how to deflect his advances. She felt betrayed by her parents who thought it would be a good career move for her to go off with him for a week in Paris......Nothing actually happened, but the relationship was unpleasant and not at all what it looked like on the screen.......Beautiful seventeen year old girls are not wise beyond their years. That's an optical illusion caused by the male gaze. They definitely are beautiful, though.

robother said...

"You better watch yourself, Mister!"

Ask not for whom the Reckoning tolls, it tolls for Thee.

tcrosse said...

The characters in Woody Allen movies live in a world without Woody Allen movies, which is hardly realistic. They are the sort of people you would expect to discuss other Woody Allen movies.

Fernandistein said...

rhhardin said...
How will the Reckoning deal with people who have a sense of humor.


"The Reckoning" probably won't like having its histrionic name laughed at.

John Lynch said...

How long before The Reckoning hits music?

james james said...

Mariel Hemingway starred in Woody's 'Manhattan'.

Her sister Margaux Hemingway starred in 'Lipstick'.

No one bothers to mention the director. They only do that with the True Artists.

From Wiki:

"Lipstick is a 1976 American rape and revenge thriller film directed by Lamont Johnson and starring Margaux Hemingway, Chris Sarandon, and Anne Bancroft."

In the film Mariel plays Margaux's sister. Margaux gets raped. Mariel gets raped, too.

The exploitation was on the screen on that one. So it wasn't Art.

- james james

PackerBronco said...

Woody does have some wonderful films that are not obsessive neurotic fantasies. I especially love "Radio Days", "Broadway Danny Rose", and "The Purple Rose of Cairo".

I loved "Manhattan" when I was younger but then I realized later that I really didn't love "Manhattan". What I really loved was the music of George Gershwin and the cinematography of Gordon Willis. The story itself is a silly mess.

Unknown said...

Refused to condone Allens actions by supporting him decades ago. I expect I have missed little of consequence.

rhhardin said...

The Reckoning leaves out the Beckoning.

Also the Regretting.

Annie C said...

Bob Boyd said...
I wonder how long until The Reckoning comes to academia.

Interesting. Does tenure cover them?


FIDO said...
I am waiting for them to get to music stars, particularly in the African American Community. No doubt that purge will be minimal since that community always shows the highest regard for the wants and needs of their women.

The big news in Dallas last night was a women's protest at an R. Kelly concert.

William said...

I suppose Woody felt that if someone as young and beautiful as Mariel were to be corrupted by the world, it would be better that someone as sensitive and as wise as he should handle the initiation ceremony. She would thank him for it later.......Power, they say, is an aphrodisiac. The people who say it are, by and large, people with power. I think women might like to walk in the corridors of power and hobnob with the great, but so far as being physically attracted to men like Henry Kissinger or Roger Ailes the effect is minimal.

Shouting Thomas said...

American women demand... absolutely demand... to be saved from the men they lust for.

Says yet another White Knight riding to the rescue.

tim in vermont said...

I was just watching a movie, "Sin City" that had a lot of extremely attractive and scantily clad young women in it. Of course at the end, it came up that it was a "Mirimax" production, and it was like "ewww!"

Didn't Moore do his stuff at about the same time that "Manhattan" was showing in theaters?

William said...

Only two women have come forward against Russell Simmons. My feeling is that's not because he only raped two women but because he has a gangsta rep. Bad things might happen to a woman who comes forward......Say what you want about Woody Allen, he's not the kind of guy who would put a hit out on a woman who was causing him trouble. Crimes and Misdemeanors was a fantasy, right? Right?

tim in vermont said...

The characters in Woody Allen movies live in a world without Woody Allen movies, which is hardly realistic. They are the sort of people you would expect to discuss other Woody Allen movies.

Ha! You write a lot of good comments, but this one is one of your better ones.

EDH said...

So I find myself watching Brody watching. It's about Brody's feeling, his virtue, his being on the correct side of history, now that we're so obviously in the midst of The Reckoning.

Isn't the virtue-signaling male just another cover profile of just as many who "reveal themselves to be troubled, troubling people, and bring to light their ugly traits, ideas, or even actions."

Metaphorically, Richard Brody is next to us in the movie theater demonstrating his generosity by inviting us to reach into the large bucket atop his lap and take a handful of popcorn.

Do so at your own risk!

Fernandistein said...

Attention, greedy people with initiative!

Now would be a great time to sell a set of Virtue Signalling Flags for landlubbers before the fad wears off.

dreams said...

I liked Woody Allen's early movies but his humor got old fast.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

So those ignorant deplorables we're right all along.

Lucien said...

It used to be said that being able to work with an asshole who did their job well was a sign of professionalism: now it signals complicity and enabling.

Apparently, we are supposed to refuse to see or enjoy, or approve of, movies or shows based on the sins of the director (e.g., Polanski), producer (Weinstein), or lead actor (Spacey). Why stop there? If it were to turn out that the Key Grip on Citizen Kane used to torture cats, should we stop saying it's a classic? Does Triumph of the Will get a pass because we knew all along, and that's the point?

People were supposedly reluctant to come forward to complain about harassment and abuse because they feared retaliation. Now if they come forward while working on a show, the whole show gets canceled and everybody loses their job (which must make the whistle blowers verrry popular with their co-workers). The solution, apparently, is to wait 20 years, so that the people who lose their jobs won't be anyone you know.

Ron said...

I will not watch Althouse....but am willing to play peek-a-boo!

Farmer said...

Brody says: the very quality that makes movies worthwhile is how they express the personality, the character, the ideas, the experiences of their makers.

That is so completely wrong it's no wonder he's wringing his hands over this. The very quality that makes movies - or any art - worthwhile is their universality. The uniqueness of the expression of that universality is what can make them great, but if art is any good at all, it has little to nothing to do with intensely personal milieu of the creator. That's a post-modern myth peddled and bought by the sort of clods who want to be able to look at art and draw a line from a to b to c so they can understand everything about it on a conscious level. Which is not how art works, or is supposed to work. Granted, lots of people do it, but they're the people creating self-indulgent, myopic, childishly bad art.

dreams said...

"If Woody Allen is, in fact, the father of Ronan Farrow then Woody did one good thing. Ronan deserves a Pulitzer with ribbons."

Probably Woody Allen's son, probably too smart to be Frank Sinatra's son.

Ron said...

"Woody intends to make the Triumph Of The Will of perv movies" -- its all been research for him! What an artist!

LarsPorsena said...

Separate art and artist?
Sure, right after the Wagner festival in Tel Aviv.

Unknown said...

This Brody is a Toady.
-williebob

Etienne said...

The hour wasted in watching an Allen video is an hour you can never get back.

There's several companies in Hollywood, where you can rent top of the line video cameras. No one uses film any more. The term "movie" is archaic grammar.

The cinema camera that everyone loves, and can be rented, with any lens combo you want, is the RED Digital camera. It started out at 4k pixels, but you can get 8k if you want to be a trailblazer, and have the computer power to edit the recordings.

RED is such a big name, they even have their own studio. It's the old Desilu Studio that was used in the heyday of Television.

George M. Spencer said...

Who was the bald 45-year-old married movie star (third marriage) who met and fell in love a 19-year-old ingenue on the set and later divorced his wife to marry her? 25-26 year age difference. Meanwhile, he simultaneously had another long-time mistress, the woman who made his toupees, and continued to see her while married to his new wife, apparently with her knowledge.

Humphrey Bogart

tcrosse said...

In Paris, Mariel Hemingway did not do the thing that young girls do with the old one. She was one of the brave ones, who would obscenity on his wanting that thing.

William said...

Hitler drew a picture of Santa Claus. Who knew? I've never seen that picture. If a copy is still extant, it must be worth a lot of money. It would make for a great novelty Christmas card. Maybe posthumously Hitler can become a successful artist.

Joseph Taylor said...

I've never really believed the charges about Dylan Farrow. Vanity Fair wrote an extensive piece about it when Allen's messy personal life first came to light in the early 90s, and the stuff about Soon Yi Previn was creepy enough. The things about Dylan Farrow described in the article suggested a strange possessiveness on his part, but the charges of abuse seemed a little vague. Still, the nature of his relationship with Soon Yi was strange enough.

Brody's article is certainly a prime example of the weasely self flogging that seems to be de rigeur now. A couple of weeks ago on NPR, an entertainment reporter for New York magazine expressed some surprise that people like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey were exploiting their power. Really? I don't know anyone who doesn't assume that men in Hollywood use their power to "get chicks (or dudes)."

As for Brody, there's a scene in Manhattan Murder Mystery where Allen highlights his claustrophobia. One of the claims against Allen was that he had taken Dylan into an attic in Mia Farrow's house. He said that couldn't be possible because he's claustrophobic, and the scene in the film is a direct reference to that. Anyone who had been following the story knew about that claim, so how could Brody have missed it? Hell, Newt Ginrich made a reference to Allen at one of the Republican conventions.

Allen hasn't made a truly good film since Crimes and Misdemeanors. I followed his work for a while after that, but his movies got to be increasinly lazy. I saw Midnight in Paris, the first Allen film I watched in ages, and was appalled at how first-draft this highly praised film was.

The ease with which some of these people turn on their own is just frightening. I thought Garrison Keillor's defense of Al Franken was ill tempered, ill considered, and hypocritical (he would not have done the same for a republican), but his firing for what seem to be pretty vague charges of harrassment was awfully quick, and the way his case, Kevin Spacey's, and others have been handled seems awfully Stalinesque.

traditionalguy said...

I would accept the postulate of art separate from the artist when the art is material objects worked on. But Allen is an artist at seduction of humans. And a great one too. That is not separable art, call it romance, persuasion or love. That tension is the theme of Doctor Zhivogo. And life goes on .

exiledonmainstreet said...

I stopped reading biographies of artists and writers a long time ago because it's a depressing genre. as George Spencer notes, they are generally not admirable characters.

Chris N said...

As for the New Yorker, it’s funny to me imagining an ‘Ideas festivals’ coming to include ‘Ethics’ Science’ ‘Art’ ‘Social Science’ and the like.

More than even the small liberal arts college model, these festivals become simulacra of actual fields of knowledge, and the feeling of self-censorship and vaguely weaponized ‘empathy’ people like Richard Brody feel will become the full-on witchhunts at the colleges. Don’t worry, the administrators have your back, Richard!

Or maybe you can’t sustain a publication with such a business model...

Anywho, I’d prefer Brody tell us what he really thinks Woody Allen does well in movies, and what he really thinks is a result of Allen’s predatory, pervy, creepy exploitation of innocence in real life and how they might or might not be related in his art.

Just aim for honesty and don’t be cowed by the latest public sentiment (even if your audience is an activist-friendly group of aspiring liberal global cosmopolitan types who helped tear-down an older social/moral order and have become a obviously hypocritical new social order)

Dont be such a pussy, Richard.

Temujin said...

youtube

He is my favorite movie maker. These are not epic 'David Lean' type movies. But they are consistently filled with a great cast, a good to great storyline, terrific soundtrack, and well shot. Compared to the sequel/comic book-to-movie, or preachy liberal lesson of the week movies that Hollywood has settled into cranking out, Woody's movies are, more or less, the only adult flicks left. I'm not an east coast liberal. And I know that he's a mess as a person. But I still like his movies and seem to be able to separate his personal character flaws from his work, better than I can any of our politicians.

I don't look to Woody for my moral guidance. And as long as he doesn't preach to me, or create laws about how I can live- I can watch his movies.

Chris N said...

And a lot of artists do lead particularly desultory lives, which is likely why the postmodern pursuit of the Self has led to all manner of dissection of ‘Art’ in the pursuit of meaning.

You can’t just read the poem/book/essay, you have to talk about yourself talking about the writer.

This is, of course, easier than reading the work, which is easier than writing it, and none of this touches in the problems artists can have with religion, politics, the laws etc

Col. Milquetoast said...

"What he did was draw or paint crude little pictures of Vienna, usually of some well-known landmark such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the opera house, the Burgtheater, the Palace of Schoenbrunn or the Roman ruins in Schoenbrunn Park. According to his acquaintances he copied them from older works; apparently he could not draw from nature. They are rather stilted and lifeless, like a beginning architect’s rough and careless sketches,"

See for yourself if they look a beginning architect’s rough and careless sketches. Not a terrible copy for someone completely untrained. Or are we supposed to call it crude and sketchy because they were done by Hitler?

Hitler was a copyist at a time when photography and printing was much better at it. Others at the time realized that to compete with photos isn't to be more photo-like but to make it interesting. Elsewhere you Picasso and cubism. In Vienna at the same time as Hitler you had Gustave Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka while Hitler was just a boring little weiner copying photos (weiner, of course, the demonym for those in Vienna).

Ken B said...

“Relax Ingrid. It’s just a movie.”

tim in vermont said...

That's what I like about Bill Shakespeare, we hardly know anything of his life. Would we really be better off if every detail of it were unearthed by historians?

rhhardin said...

Er ist auf Erden kommen arm,
Und in dem Himmel mache reich,

Christmas Oratorio, Santa probably gave Hitler the idea for the third Reich.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NGpLMWPZtg

Matthew Sablan said...

From watching Hollywood this is easy. Polanski should be separated from his work and celebrated, Orson Scott Card should not.

Chris N said...

Dear God help us if Hitler ever becomes the stuff of the postmodern, ‘empathetic’ gaze.

Young Adolf passes lonely months rejected by arts buyers and ignored by schnitzel-scarfing onlookers. He gazes blank-faced ahead on a bench by the river. He shuffles down alleyways to his job painting lederhosen.

One morning, a nervous energy fills the streets. War?

Etienne said...

Humphrey Bogart

He could never remember his lines. Every time he got to the point where his memory ran out, he would say "God damn it!" real loud. The others would try to hold their positions, but Bogart would move a bit, ruining the setup, and the whole scene would have to be done over. Usually after 5 takes, they would all break for the cafeteria and cool off from the lights.

You can hear the director (in the background) saying "alright, alright, just don't move!"

David Baker said...

Let's not forget how Jodie Foster groomed 11-year-old Kristin Stewart in the movie "Panic Room."

And regarding Woody Allen et al, there's something we're missing about she's-no-raving-beauty Kate Winslet.

(PS> Conflicting Edits)

Mac McConnell said...

I like movies, mostly old ones. I also like Woody Allen movies, mostly older ones.

I don't necessarily agree with Brody, but he must be right, he's an Ivy Leaguer and they're all more brilliant than us.

Michael K said...

"He could never remember his lines."

Hadn't read that. The reason why he was so impatient with Audrey Hepburn in "Sabrina" was her blowing her lines repeatedly.

Ann Althouse said...

The idea of Hitler's drawing of Santa Claus made me laugh way too much.

I haven't laughed so hard since I read since the news that they've discovered "Santa Claus's tomb."

I don't know why Santa Claus strikes me as so funny. As I've mentioned before, I once laughed so much at the line "That's my Santa Claus hat" that the person who said it got angry at me. (He said it about a small red dot on his scalp that caused me to ask "What's this red dot?" as I was cutting his hair.)

Did Santa Claus do something to me that I've repressed?

Bob Boyd said...

"Did Santa Claus do something to me that I've repressed?"

Will The Reckoning bring down Santa? Will Althouse be his accuser? Have you ever seen Santa and Laslo in the same thread?
Stay tuned.

mtrobertslaw said...

"Hitler always thought of himself as a great artist." Yes he did. In his mind, he simply exchanged mediums--paint for politics, politics being akin to conceptual art.
For those who take an expansive view of art, the tough question is how is "good" artistic politics distinguished from "bad" artistic politics.

MayBee said...

I feel a lot like Althouse feels these days (at least I think so) when it comes to the entertaiment industry. I can't look at it the same.
I look at every young actress and wonder what they went through (and what they were willing to do) to get where they are. I know Kate Winslet has said before that her first relationship was with an older man, when she was a teen
I think about Emma Stone moving to LA when she was 14 and getting jobs right away. I mean, she's really cute, but there are a lot of talented young girls out there, not all of them with a mom willing to move to LA for them. So....

I wonder if it's why so many actresses (and singers like Britney Spears) are just crazy.

With Woody Allen, I don't know what happened with his young daughter. But he's very obviously not morally upright. But why does Hollywood celebrate movies like Manhattan?

Sebastian said...

""There has always been something sexually sordid in Allen’s work...." There has always been something sexually sordid about sex." Yeah, but there's sordidity and then there's sordidity.

"presumably because the roles are luscious." Ah, that must be the reason.

"his being on the correct side of history, now that we're so obviously in the midst of The Reckoning." Yes, but most progs have yet to reckon with their obvious complicity, their blithe consent with the degradation of the culture, because they have yet to ask themselves: why? Why did they do it? Why did they back Bill? Why did they keep silent on Ted and Harvey? Why did they applaud Polanski, the anal rape of a drugged girl? Why did they think that represented the right side of history?

Why indeed? Because the transvaluation of values has been the prog project for more than a century, and because the lust for power transcended any moral principle. Until they reckon with that, The Reckoning will just become another prog power play.

MayBee said...

....and I have to say it's the people who write about Arts and Entertainment who have pushed on us over the decades the idea that depressing art is art, where uplifting or wholesome entertainment is schlocky and unrealistic. Like it's flyover country people who want to see happy endings and intact families. Perhaps there are just too many troubled people drawn to the industry.

Sebastian said...

Now that The Reckoning is in full swing, will progs question if they are on the right side of history at all? I doubt it. It requires sell-awarness, intellectual modesty, and a recognition that history doesn't have sides. Too much to ask.

But if they did, what other Reckonings might await? The Reckoning that abortion on demand, justified by inventions like defining women's bodies as "sovereign territory," caused a Holocaust that harmed untold numbers of women and children? The Reckoning that the moral unleashing of promiscuous gay sexuality, justified as the pursuit of "gay rights," caused another Holocaust that harmed both gay men and society at large?

Bad Lieutenant said...


rhhardin said...
It's time for a movie about mob action self-entertainment.
12/2/17, 7:17 AM


So when will your film be released? I'm sure we're all agog to see it.

Professional lady said...

I'm with MayBee. I'm not going to see "Hamilton" partly because I don't like rap and because I'd be thinking of that stupid lecture at Mike Pence. When I watch "Moonstruck" I have to think about how Cher called Sarah Palin a vulgar word for female genitalia(and I'm no great fan of Sarah Palin). If I go to a Meryl Streep movie (who I think is a great actress)I have to think about her politics. I lost interest in Woody Allen movies a long time ago - it was the same schtick over and over again (maybe it's not that way now, don't know)and I have to think about whether or not he is a molester or not (I really don't know). I want to lose myself in a film or play, I don't need the actor's personal opinions or weird baggage distracting me.

Bad Lieutenant said...

No really, I can see it being a smash hit. They'll call you The Director Who Eats Dog Food. Folks like Ann will, pardon the plagiarism / cliche, eat that up.

Bad Lieutenant said...


rhhardin said...
Macbeth should be redone with a happy ending.
12/2/17, 7:48 AM


I don't think they had nuru massage back then.

Darrell said...

I saw Goering kissing Hitler's ass
Underneath the mistletoe last night
They didn't see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peek
They thought that I was locked up in ol' Auschwitz fast asleep

Then, I saw Goering tickle Hitler's balls
Underneath his bush so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Eva had only seen
Goering kissing Hitler's ass last night

rcocean said...

First, I can't stand Brody - isn't' he the guy always look at every film through a self-identified left-wing, Jewish New York perspective?

Nothing wrong with that, except I'm not Jewish, Left-wing, or live in New York.

Anyway, I have nothing against Woody Allen. So, he likes them 17/18, so what? As long as they're above the age of consent. And his films have always been unrealistic. Count how many blacks/Hispanics you see in the New York Movies.

I just wish he'd stop making the same 3 movies over and over again. He's 82, time to retire. Do you realize that Elvis and Woody are almost the same age?

rcocean said...

Speer said Hitler was a talented Architect, but old-fashioned. All his ideas about Art were from the 1900-1914 time period.

Yancey Ward said...

I will still watch Chinatown anytime I come across it because I think it is one of the 3 greatest film noirs ever made- Roman Polanski's problems won't change my opinion or love of this movie.

I am not a Woody Allen fan, but if I were, I still wouldn't refuse to watch his films just because of an accusation I can't really ever know is true or not. When the stories were first printed, I gave them less credence because it was a divorce fight. I give them more weight today, but the truth is I will never actually know the truth.

Bad Lieutenant said...

his firing for what seem to be pretty vague charges of harrassment was awfully quick, and the way his case, Kevin Spacey's, and others have been handled seems awfully Stalinesque.


One would have to have a heart of stone to read the fate of Yezhov without dissolving into tears...of laughter.

Char Char Binks said...

I have no problem believing that Woody Allen is innocent of all the crimes he's accused of and completely ignoring his film career because I've never enjoyed any of his movies ever.

Bad Lieutenant said...


David Baker said...
Let's not forget how Jodie Foster groomed 11-year-old Kristin Stewart in the movie "Panic Room."


? Source? I like her just enough not to accept such an innuendo without at least a little backing.



And regarding Woody Allen et al, there's something we're missing about she's-no-raving-beauty Kate Winslet.

You have this thing about her. Maybe not the all time conventional beauty princess, if you like, but at the office, on the Hot or Not scale, she passes. What don't you like about her? Name five or ten actresses of the current time who you prefer (on looks).

Gahrie said...

The left spends fifty years destroying the concept of morality (If it feels good, do it) and is shocked, shocked when people begin behaving immorally.

rhhardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

Both Kate Winslett and Jodie Foster were in Carnage (1022) which was entertaining.

MayBee said...

Professional lady said...

I lost my desire to see Hamilton - or really anything Lin Manuel Miranda partakes in- with his joy over having a Puerto Rican bomber pardoned by his buddy Obama.

For the most part, however, I still will see the entertainment that's produced if it's something I would like. I would watch Midnight in Paris over and over again. But I'm just not as interested in watching things I used to love, like the Emmys and the Oscars and the red carpets. I don't find the celebrities likable or celebrate-able right now.

David Baker said...

Bad Lieutenant asks... ? Source?

Me. But I thought it was pretty obvious, universal, because on-screen Jodie Foster couldn't keep her hands off her (Kristin Stewart). Then, ten years later, Stewart emerges from the lesbian closet.

Regarding Kate Winslet, you're right, I do have a thing about her - like how she made it into Titanic. And now with Woody Allen, I suspect she brings her own couch.

I've also since amended my opinion regarding Winslet in Titanic, that it was really the makeup that made her look so awful.

For shear beauty, however, Kristin Stewart would have been my 2nd choice for Titanic, although she can't act to save her life - she's virtually flat-affect. But with her face, and those eyes(!), I, like others, would pay her just to show up. That is, before she emerged from Jodi's closet. Now I wouldn't give her a plug nickel for any straight role - unless it's playing against Kevin Spacey.

My first choice - currently - would be Jennifer Lawrence, whom I consider the best actress out there, beautiful with or without makeup - and smart/aggressive enough to keep the drooling dogs in and around the typical movie-set in check. But she was only 6 or 7 years old when they made Titanic.

Which brings me to Jennifer Love Hewitt. Can't act, but for pure sex appeal and beauty, the timing would have been just about right. Problem is, she was already type-cast as a lightweight - sort of a comedic actress.

I'll also concede that the more I think about it, the harder it is to pick the ideal actress. So maybe that's what I'm missing regarding Kate Winslet, that she best filled all the requirements for the role.

Johnathan Birks said...

I don't think great artists are any more or less predisposed to vile acts, it just seems that way lately. As we've seen recently, some vile acts are known within the artist's industry long before they become public knowledge. To me, it's pointless to judge art based on the artist's personal behavior. To do this, one must not only discard a vast number of works but be prepared to disown even more as certain behaviors come to light. It's too much work.

Big Mike said...

Am I supposed to suddenly dislike Caravaggio’s paintings because he was a murderer? As a thought experiment, suppose someone told you that Leonardo da Vinci was a pediphile? Does that make the Mona Lisa less beautiful? (No Leonardo wasn’t. To the best of anyone’s knowledge.)

Martin said...

Brody reeks on insincerity. He is just trying to immunize his reputation by now saying he is ambivalent about someone whose work he adored, so if anyone comes after him as in some way approving of or enabling Allen's perversions, he can point to this--20 years too late, but something.

I do not get what is so hard about appreciating a piece of art or other work in the context of its creator being a human, with human failings.

I see people bemoaning that they cannot square their affection and high opinion of Matt Lauer with recent revelations. That should not be so hard for an adult.

So I conclude they are all emotional and intellectual children, toddlers, even.

Which woud be OK except that so many of them insist on telling the rest of us how we should live and what opinions we are entitled, or forbidden, to hold.

Jim S. said...

Blogger Bob Boyd said...
I wonder how long until The Reckoning comes to academia.

12/2/17, 7:55 AM


I'm not confident that will happen, although I don't rule it out. Feminist philosophers have been saying for years, to much applause, that professional philosophers are extremely hyper-masculine. Christina Hoff Somers, a philosopher, said that to call "hyper-masculine" is the last term you'd use to describe male philosophers. I took this to mean, not that they are feminists or pro-women, but that they are wimps.

(For the record, I'm a professional philosopher and a former Marine. And a wimp, if you talk to my wife.)

The Godfather said...

The purpose of a movie reviewer (or "critic") is to tell me enough about a movie for me to decide whether or not to see it. This isn't easy (the reviewer can't tell you too much, but has to tell you enough), and a movie reviewer who does his/her job well should be respected. But I really don't need him/her to pass judgment on the morals or psyche or behavior of the writer, director, or actors who made the movie. If I am looking for someone to make such judgments I wouldn't pick a movie reviewer: The job is beyond a reviewer's skill set. This essay is an excellent illustration of that fact. What a pompous, self-important bore!

Jon Burack said...

I like this and guess I think the whole thing could have stopped here:

"Notice how Brody inserts the word "wrongly." It was wrong to think, I will look away from this messy divorce, because now, in The Reckoning, you are supposed to care about what took place in private and respond when anguished women cry out for help."

Well, I have to wonder, do people who talk about "The Reckoning," like those who talk about "The Resistance," really live in this super-hero comic book world? "The Reckoning!" What self-important balderdash. I lived back in those good old days before the Reckoning and did not "care about what took place in private or respond when anguished women cried out for help" and I do not now care either, in any but an abstract and civic duty sort of way. That is, I care that evil things happen and want public life ordered so as to minimize them. But I have no sense of ANY personal obligation to go beyond that. In my view, to demand that I care in some more direct and intervening way about what are in fact irreducibly private "he said, she said" matters (a phrase I see no good reason to dispense with even now) is to invite me to a lynch mob mentality. I see no halfway ground between the standard of "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" (which I agree cannot be used in the court of public opinion) and mere mob fury. Unless someone can supply me with an alternative standard that allows me to make a defensible judgment in these cases I will not be badgered into deciding cases I am in no position to decide. I detest that I am asked to decide, for example, whether Woody Allen did or did not do in his private life what he has been accused of on the grounds that I am in absolutely no position to know how to decide it.

As for Allen's movies, I admit to having liked only the earlier slapstick ones such as Sleeper, Love and Death, Radio Days, Play it Again Sam. I can easily live without his "existential" magnificence or whatever it is supposed to be.

Roger Zimmerman said...

The scenes from Bananas where they order about 2000 sandwiches from the deli to feed the rebels is hilarious. There are some other funny gags throughout the earlier films. All the subsequent neurosis, not so much - just self-indulgent twaddle.