Wednesday, August 6, 2014

As Long As I Have You

The corrupt thieving bore known as The Artist (2011) -- a product with syntax much closer to an Absolut Vodka "White" pimpery than to anything from 1927 -- put me in mind of Zelig (1983). (The differences in wit, movement, understanding and sincere interest in its time, and formal inventiveness -- as opposed to mere decoration -- is tragic.) While I stopped being a Woody Allen fan about the time it became clear he wasn't going to go anywhere upsetting to his mummified, contented audience -- the same audience, both in the seats and in the media, fooled by Michel Hazanavicius's fakery -- certain gems glow brighter as the years go by, as the 70s / Keaton works dim, and as US movie culture becomes more and more the result of Cranial Rectal Embedment (CRE).

It is sweet and honest and in mad love with the Twenties. And very funny. Allen's adoration of his co-star, now seen as tawdry and a cause for snickering because of the bizarre later happenings in the private lives of both Allen and Miss Farrow, deepens Zelig's heart and humor. As it does Broadway Danny Rose (1984) and Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), his best three movies. Farrow was better for Allen's art than was Keaton, and surely better than what came after.