Director Focus: Woody Allen

9 September 2013

A look back on some of the key Woody Allen films just in time for the release of his latest film, Blue Jasmine.

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Woody Allen is perhaps best known for his character-driven films which often blur the boundaries between comedy, romance and tragedy. As his new film, Blue Jasmine is about to be released, this is a perfect time to look back on some of the director's key films. All nine titles are available to book worldwide on 35mm. 

Hannah and Her Sisters

Winner of three Oscars, and featuring a brilliant all-star cast, Hannah And Her Sisters spins a tale of three unforgettable women. Hannah (Mia Farrow) is a devoted wife, loving mother and successful actress. A loyal supporter of her two aimless sisters, she's also the emotional backbone of her family. But when Hannah's perfect world is quietly sabotaged by sibling rivalry, she finally begins to see that she's as lost as everyone else. 

The Purple Rose of Cairo

The Purple Rose of Cairo slips through the looking glass of cinematic convention to create a magical comic fable about life, love, illusion and hope. Lonely Depression-era waitress Cecilia (Farrow) is hopelessly in love with Hollywood movies. Spellbound by her new favourite, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Cecilia is astonished when the leading man (Jeff Daniels) suddenly walks right off the screen and into her life. 

Stardust Memories

In this insightful and witty satire, Woody Allen portrays an uninspired comic filmmaker who attends a weekend retrospective of his films, only to confront the meaning of his work, the memories of his great love, Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling), and the merits of settling down with his new girlfriend. Plagued by hallucinations, alien visitations and the bloodless studio executives trying to re-cut his bleak new film, the filmmaker struggles to find a reason to go on living. 

Crimes and Misdemeanors

Showcasing Allen’s brilliant grasp of the link between the funny and the fatal, Crimes and Misdemeanors is one of the watershed films of his career. Cliff Stern (Allen) is an idealistic filmmaker until he is offered a lucrative job shooting a flattering profile of a pompous TV producer (Alan Alda). Judah Rosenthal (Martin Landau) is the pillar of his community until he learns that his ex-mistress (Anjelica Huston) plans to expose his financial and extramarital misdeeds. Each man must examine his own morality and face the consequences of his actions. 

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy

Woody Allen brings a diverting whimsy and a hopeful innocence to this period roundelay, based upon Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night and Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game. Three ill-assorted couples spend an intrigue-filled summer weekend in the countryside changing partners and ultimately their lives. 

Shadows and Fog

A timid clerk is drafted by a vigilant committee to help capture a Jack the Ripper-style murderer who's been terrorising the city at night. Boasting an all star-cast including Mia Farrow, John Malkovich, Madonna, Jodie Foster, Kathy Bates and John Cusack, Shadows and Fog creates a brilliant portrait of the hopeless - but hilarious - tragicomedy of human existence. 

Annie HallAlvy Singer (Allen) is a successful comedian trying to sort out the tangled webs of his personal life. He meets the young and talented Annie Hall (Diane Keaton in a Best Actress Oscar-winning role) and so begins an on-again, off-again relationship that is both poignant and, at times, hilarious. The film weaves flashbacks, flash forwards, monologues, a parade of classic Allen one-liners, and even animation into an alternately uproarious and wistful comedy. 

Love and Death

A wonderfully funny and eclectic distillation of the Russian literary soul, the film represents a bridge between Allen's early slapstick farces and his darker autobiographical comedies. One of his most visual, philosophical and elaborately conceived films, Love and Death tells the story of cowardly scholar Boris Grushenko (Allen) and his beautiful cousin Sonja (Keaton) who formulate a plot to assassinate Napoleon.


Sumptuously photographed in black and white and in wide-screen format - both firsts for director Allen - and accompanied by a magnificent George Gershwin score, Manhattan is a wry, touching and finely rendered portrait of modern relationships set against the backdrop of urban alienation. 

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