Friday, September 18, 2009

Annie Hall @ Charles Theatre

A new print of Woody Allen's Oscar-winning ANNIE HALL screens three times this week as the Charles' revival.


Saturday, September 19 at Noon
Monday, September 21 at 7 pm
Thursday, September 24 at 9 pm

1977. Dir. Woody Allen. Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Shelley Duvall, Christopher Walken, Mordecai Lawner, Jeff Goldblum, Dick Cavett. 93m.

In a boy-has-already-lost-girl story, comedian Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) reflects on his failed romance with Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) and attempts to get her back. It's a slight story but what makes this film significant in Allen's long career is that it's really the first time he wrote adult characters. Previous movies such as the mock Russian literature epic "Love and Death" are funnier but are only really a sequence of gags. From here his writing (with Marshall Brickman) and directing make an unexpectedly subtle and involving movie. It's in "Annie Hall" that Allen first seems to have first learned the power of excision. Later he would re-shoot scenes, or once an entire movie ("September"), but here he deleted over an hour of footage. What's more, "Annie Hall" is really a murder-mystery but you'd never know it because that lost hour of footage included the murder and the mystery (this surplus plot became the basis of Allen's "Manhattan Murder Mystery"). Crime is a crutch in storytelling because it starts with the crime and ends with the inevitable unmasking of the villain, so it's a mark of greater sophistication that Allen chose to throw that away. This more intelligent film-making is rewarding because it hasn't dated as much as its 1970s fashions or focus on psychiatry. Its best sequence is still being ripped off, too: Allen and Keaton have a flirtatious chat that is subtitled with what each of them is really thinking. It's really no surprise that "Annie Hall" beat "Star Wars" to the Best Picture Oscar of 1977. (William Gallagher, BBC)

"Arguably Allen's best film: a thoroughly winning examination of the relationship between the ditzy title character and Allen's standard neurotic loon. A seminal '70s movie, and it holds up beautifully."
– Time Out New York

"Recommended! Remains Allen's clearest, cleanest intersection of whimsy, riotousness, and angst. It's a film that lovers and would-be lovers bond over—a jumbled sketch of a romance from start to finish, with well-observed moments of what love is really like."
– The Onion

“An aggressively experimental fantasia in which he unleashed all the kung fu in his cinematic arsenal, Annie Hall leaves any other romantic comedy made since choking on its dust.”
– Grady Hendrix, The New York Sun