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Annie Hall

"Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering-and its all over much too soon."
Woody Allen

I recently watched Magic in the Moonlight, (2014) directed by Woody allen and starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone.  In the past I have kept away from Woody Allen's work, as I have found it too raw, heartbreaking and negative.  Occasionally I do like to see the good triumph in life, but, whether it happens or not is really not the point.  I like to believe that cinema can do that for me, and Allen has not been quite forthcoming in this area.  In Magic in the Moonlight, however, I was surprised.  I felt every nuance and spark that each character was feeling and experiencing, enhanced by the brilliant cinematography of Darius Khondji.  The colours and lighting provided an ethereal world where love will triumph, in the end at least.  Too cliche, maybe, but giddy nevertheless, dreamlike and magical.  Pure cinema for me.  My confidence was restored in Woody Allen, and so I decided to re visit, Annie Hall, (1977) with a different perspective, almost like being an older person and going back into the past, if I knew then what I know now kind of thing…so I slumped on the couch, on a Saturday night, expecting to turn the film off a quarter of the way.  No such thing.  I was gripped.

Filming on Annie Hall, lasted almost ten months.  Ten months.  Try doing that nowadays.  A lot of this had to do with the perfectionism of Allen's new cinematographer, Gordon Willis, but what was more exciting for me was the script, dialogue and flow of the story.  Ultimately, Annie Hall is a celebration or rather a rendition of the relationship that Allen had with Keaton, funny in parts, sad, cruel, pessimistic and downright negative, but with the lightheartedness that love can and does offer.

In this film, Allen, does what all writers should be doing, and that is to write about what they know, inside out, and what touches them to the core and what they have intense feelings for.  It is this aspect that astounded me as Allen went to places that not many people will ever acknowledge.  He bares his soul, gives the audience a glimpse of the most private thoughts and challenges the audience on where their own sensibilities lie.
There is not one line that is not about human nature which cannot be achieved without delving into the darkest area of our consciousness.
There is no denying that Annie Hall is autobiographical, but it is this very fact that makes it so endearing, regardless of its inherent negativity and pessimism.  Allen weaves his childhood memories to his present and makes them all relevant, for they are.  It is this little aspect that is so spectacular- having the ability to make every experience and memory of life relevant to art and the creation thereof.  A lesson well learnt for me. It doesn't matter what that experience is, nor what anyone thinks of it.  What matters is to have the ability and the confidence to use it unashamedly and with honesty.  Once this happens then the creation will be timeless.  For even though, life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering, and it is over much too soon, what really counts is what we do with it whilst we are still alive and how we use it all in the wonderful world of making art, writing or films.

Stella Dimadis
January, 2015


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