The Films of Woody Allen – Part Two

His movies are ridden with existential angst which is constantly undermined by absurdist humour. An overriding theme of Allen’s work is the gaining and losing of love and the bizarre merry-go-round that is the romance and the dating game.

Many critics have drawn parallels with his work and the work of Sartre with regard to the impossibility of authentic romantic commitment. Woody throws piercing questions at us in the midst of our laughter and delight at capturing his quasi-intellectual entendres; he needles us about the absurd paradoxes of desire and morality, freedom and commitment, just doing it and nagging guilt. The real killer is after achieving the much sought after prize which satisfies our realist fantasies, the protagonist is not satisfied, our hopes are dashed, our erotic illusions shattered but perhaps this keeps the morals of the audience intact.

Does this make us happy? Wistfully so, I would imagine. Woody always leaves us hopeful, characters in the main don’t take themselves very seriously to the core, though their dramatic outbursts attempt to tell us they do. Yes, they take love seriously and it means a lot at a specific time but if they lose it, they can always get it somewhere else again, the chase commences and the fantasy resumes. Lately, though Allen is losing his mirth, his latest films are not so bittersweet, we leave the cinema not so warm. Take Cassandra’s Dream – leaves you with a feeling akin to having watched the hellish Eastenders Sunday omnibus. Can the jokes no longer ebb the misanthropic beast that has always lingered within? I suppose it is always easy to be self-deprecatory about oneself when deep down you believe that in the end things will be work out fine, that in the end you will have learnt from your mistakes and therefore all the pain, angst and deflation was worth it, as it was leading to a final revelation and ultimately happiness. But perhaps after a continuous stream of broken dreams and failed relationships, the writer is now worn down, a creeping sense that this may never happen, most likely will not happen and therefore the jokes have shored up.

Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net

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