Friday, October 3, 2008

Inimitable or no imitators?

Woody Allen has said that current movies are bereft of his influence. "Everyone is influenced by Marty, no one by myself," the line goes. A modest sentiment, but untrue.

Woody Allen does in fact have imitators, but we'll leave that aside for a moment.

There is an old joke that has a would-be director pleading with a producer, "...but I want to make a Woody Allen movie!?" "Kid, only Woody Allen makes Woody Allen movies," comes the reply. Not entirely the case, but it's more or less true.

Woody Allen is inimitable. He voice is singular. His ability to interweave humor into life's most pressing conversations, to captivate an audience with dialogue, not explosions or gritty violence, and to transform his back drop into a character, is unique. In other words, it's not that people don't try to imitate Woody Allen, it's that they can't. And when they can, they can't get money.

Occassionally, however, a film passes through the gauntlet and is flattering in its imitation. A couple weeks back we brought your attention to In Search of a Midnight Kiss. That movie is on the mind of Susan Dunne, who has this to say
[Alex] Holdridge is heavily influenced by Woody Allen's " Manhattan," a black-and-white masterpiece that was as much a love letter to Allen's favorite city as it was to the idea of love. Holdridge doesn't have Allen's legendary cinematographer Gordon Willis, but he gets beautiful low-budget black-and-white work from Robert Murphy, bathing L.A. in romantic shadows and focusing on the most distinctive building exteriors and interiors.

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