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The Comedies of Woody Allen

From 9 July till 9 September 2015

This summer EYE is focusing on director, actor, writer, comedian and musician Woody Allen.

About the Program

A Summer with Woody Allen features his most important and talked about films and highlights the major themes in his work, the influence of American and European culture on his films and Allen’s significance for contemporary cinema. The programme includes a selection of some 25 films directed by Allen and mostly deriving from EYE’s collection (on celluloid, the way Allen likes to see it), from ‘the early, funny ones’ to Blue Jasmine. In addition, there’s the premiere of his latest film Irrational Man, plus a programme of films directed by other filmmakers and starring Allen (like Antz, with Woody as a neurotic worker ant), documentaries, film classics Allen alludes to and recent films that take their cue from Allen’s comedies. A Summer with Woody Allen also offers special programmes on several themes in Allen’s work, including psychoanalysis, Jewish identity, Eastern-European literature and New York. In addition jazz performances, stand-up comedy acts and open air shows will be scheduled to celebrate the multi-talented filmmaker.

Hardly a year passes without a new film by Allen. With a career spanning six decades, filmmaker, writer and actor Woody Allen is one of the great comedy talents of the past hundred years. He has worked with outstanding actors like Scarlett Johansson (Matchpoint, Scoop), Javier Bardem (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Leonardo DiCaprio (Celebrity), Diane Keaton (Manhattan), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Mia Farrow (A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Broadway Danny Rose, Zelig).

EYE’s highly diverse programme pays special attention to the comedy films of the director who has no less than four Oscars to his name. In addition to an impressive cast of actors, a typical Allen film offers a sparkling mix of slapstick, sex, jazz, psychoanalysis and relationship problems. Allen is still going strong and is currently writing and directing a TV series for Amazon’s Video On Demand channel Instant Video.

About Woody Allen

Woody Allen (1935) first took to the stage in 1961 as a stand-up comedian. He next turned to playwriting, producing a number of Broadway hits. His first foray into the world of film was as an actor (What’s New Pussycat, Casino Royale), though he soon realized he wanted to direct films instead. Since his feature film debut What’s Up, Tiger Lily (1966), Allen has directed 45 films, a considerable number of which were nominated for Oscars.

Woody Allen has left an indelible mark on the genre of film comedy: romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally, the TV series Seinfeld and films by contemporary independents like Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha) are all indebted to him. At the same time his work reflects the history of film, from the art cinema of Bergman and Fellini to film comedians like Chaplin and The Marx Brothers. What is unique about Allen is that he successfully blends (and ironizes) European high culture and American popular culture in films that are almost exclusively concerned with personal relationships and are in the final analysis no more or less than moral tales of our times.

Full programme

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