Sydney Film Festival - SFF Film Review : Woody Allen A Documentary (2012)

By Jemima Bucknell

When I first glanced the Sydney Film Festival program, this got my heart pounding. Any serious Woody Allen fan can be in agony sometimes at the limit of Woody resources. No DVD extras. No making-of’s. No commentaries. Whatever we want to know, we just have to wait another 12-15 months for the next film to come out.

The documentary moves forward through the Allen chronology, showing memorable clips from his “earlier, funnier” movies and very minimal interviews taken with him about a year ago. The film’s narrative dynamic is shifted by the reception of his films year after year, discussed by his colleagues and contemporaries who are too many to list.

The State Theatre was in hysterics when the question of who this man is – comedian, writer, filmmaker – was accompanied by a who-am-I style game show. Allen, with a high pitched, feminine voice, was interviewed by a jury of players – in a genius introduction, not only because of the rare footage of the comedian on a black and white TV show, but because it also looked exactly like his “What’s Your Perversion” segment in Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex.

We get to see inside his home briefly – his bed and writing desk – and a small insight to his film-a-year writing method but if you read his imdb trivia, you’d know all this anyway. The version I saw is a theatrical cut of the full PBS documentary running over 3 hours, and it will be interesting to see just what is missing when it is released later in the month. Woody Allen: A Documentary will definitely have you laughing, and hopeful that we’ve still got many years of Allen films to look forward to.

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woody collage