The Notting Hill Gate Picturehouse is showing a lot of Woody Allen films this week. You can get a full list of what’s showing on their website which is www.picturehouses.co.uk and then go to Gate Cinema.
This new documentary shows the wide span of Allen’s comedy writing and film careers, but don’t expect criticism. It falls a little short of hagiography, but not much.
If you love Allen’s movies, there is much here to appreciate. You will remember just how good “Bananas”, “Sleeper” and, indeed, the bits of “What’s New Pussycat” you liked, but there is an airbrushing of some of the ghastly and self-indulgent excesses of the 1990s.
With Allen back on form with the superb “Midnight in Paris”, there’s an opportunity here to step behind the scenes and hear from Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest and many others.
Don’t expect Mia Farrow to join in the joy of praising Woody.
It’s a trip down memory lane that covers 40 years of real risk taking on film. I still think “Annie Hall” and the overlooked “What’s Up, Tiger Lily” are his finest movies, but many disagree and that just shows quite how much work there is to argue about.
It is pointed out that Woody always has a lot to say. That, and his longevity and tenacious spirit will give us movies to talk about for many years to come.
Allen will always be the most European of American directors and is intelligent, even when he is a little too much on the psychoanalyst’s chair school of movie making.
The Gate audience thoroughly enjoyed it and giggled a lot. The beautiful surroundings always lift me, especially in the week in which the Electric Cinema had a bad fire and shut, temporarily. Get well soon, Electric. Notting Hill has crowds that care about and know film and while I will always love the Gate best, it is fabulous to see films with people who really care about movies and can stay quiet through them.