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Woody Allen’s films are regularly imbued with more than a hint of the autobiographical, while his sometimes controversial private life has been much-publicised. And yet Allen is notoriously reclusive, such that when he sanctioned Robert Weide’s documentary, it was a unique opportunity to glean unprecedented insight into the life of a cinematic icon. Happily, Weide has duly reaped the benefits.
Charting the early years as a stand-up comic right up to the resounding success of Midnight In Paris, Weide’s dialogue with Allen—who is predictably wry and endearing; perhaps unpredictably honest—is supplemented by a host of revealing interviews with family, fellow directors and familiar collaborators. Amusing anecdotes about on-set quirks accompany candour on the subject of his marriages, coalescing in a rich, illuminating monograph, judiciously compiled by Weide. Though Allen shows few signs of stopping, at 76 this is a timely reflection on a prestigious career and a much-loved individual.
Dir: Robert Weide, USA, 2011, English, 120 mins.
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