Woody Allen , sitting in his eternal chair in a Center Film screening room in Manhattan’s hungry. So eating a turkey sandwich, thick as a Bottin, with malossol pickles, he will do his interview, apologizing for this incongruity. His new film, “Café Society” was chosen to open the Cannes Film Festival, he is delighted. That will give him the opportunity to go through Paris, where his wife “will melt the credit card” and where, according to him, the word “discount” does not exist: “What is the opposite Surcount? ? Amplicount? “
the film, funny and tender, revives the bittersweet vein of Woody Allen. A 80-year-old filmmaker is far from retiring: he has just finished a series for Amazon and “I must put myself at work” because “we turn another film in two months.” He paints his velvet trousers, and evokes our first meeting for “Manhattan” in 1979: “I did not like this film,” he says with a somewhat weary smile. But “Café Society”? “Yes, this one, I like it.”
“Café Society”: a delight Woody Allen opens Cannes
Usually, you are unhappy with your shootings. For “Café Society”, are you happy?
Yes, I took a lot of fun doing it. I had outstanding players including Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, and I had the opportunity to work with Vittorio Storaro, one of the world’s greatest cinematographers. I sent him the script, I was expecting it returns me thanking me, and in fact, he sent me a note: “I would do it.” Simple.
Everyone wants to work with you, even God.
He’s different. It was a co-production agreement.
Yet one of your characters in the film, said that life, full of sound and fury, was written by “a sadistic author . “
for most people on this Earth, life is not funny: there is poverty, disease, war, taxes, food poisoning, weather disasters, ants. Me, I was lucky: my life was pleasant. But now that I’m 80, what’s my future?
Life in the hereafter?
Yes, except I do not know where to eat in the afterlife.
Why do you continue to work at this pace?
I love good. It’s not a horrible life: I arrive on set at 7am, I see Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively, two gorgeous women, there are people who care for costumes, sets, coffee … It’s a nice way to make a living.
You have no intention of slowing down?
no. But one day, something will happen that will force me to slow down. A heart attack, senility, and they will say, “Did you see Woody Allen on TV the other day he took quite a blow of old …?”
Do you feel having accomplished something, in 46 films?
I never stop to look back, to weigh what I did. I finish a film, I viewed once, then never again, I go to the next. I do not dwell, I no longer think. I do not marine in self-criticism, saying: “I could have done better, I’m stupid, it missed …”
Have you ever missed a movie
I am always disappointed. I even tried to buy “Manhattan”, to prevent the exit. I hated the result. I went to see Arthur Krim, the head of United Artists, saying: “If you do not get this film, I will make another free for you.” He replied: “You are mad This is an excellent movie Let’s get it out…” What he did. And that was a big hit everywhere: Japan, Brazil, Israel, Canada … This is where I realized that I could not judge my films. I leave that to others.
Jesse Eisenberg and Blake Lively in “Café Society”. (Sabrina Lantos / Gravier Productions)
You’re never satisfied?
I know now that I’ll never get perfection. Between when you write at home – she enters, she hangs her coat, she saw the man – and what happens on the set, everything changes. It’s cold, the wind picks up, she can not go with these high heels, the light is bad, man does not know his lines … It’s frustrating. But, in truth, frustration is present in all forms of art. I’m sure that Beethoven and Rembrandt were saying, “Oh, heck I could have done better!”
The artist seeks perfection and always misses. So he tries again and again. Leonardo, before his canvas, bitched: “Hell, I did not want Mona Lisa smile pressure is put me to finish, and this is the result!” Even God must have doubts, before his work. It is certainly very disappointed. He looked at the man, and said to himself. “There, I missed my shot”
The Jewish family, which is found in “Café Society” is one of your recurring themes. The characters argue, love, live in a state of permanent boost …
In traditional Jewish family, anything that encroaches on religion is sin. In the film, there is a gangster – little sin – who converted to Catholicism – great sin! The guy should go to hell. Except there is no hell, among Jews. They compensate: hell, it’s the parents
Your family was infernal
My parents adored but never have.? stopped fighting. I never heard a word of tenderness between them. That’s how I remember it, but it’s perhaps my vision a little crazy …
You live in a crazy world?
No. In an ordinary world. I am a productive citizen, that’s all. A psychologist told me once: “I thought that with you, it would be exciting, but you are like a book!” I have a normal life, not like Gauguin. Nothing eccentric, nothing feverish. Middle class … I do not get drunk, I do not do drugs. I am therefore not an artist. Yes, I failed. My films are too artistic to reach the general public, and not artistic enough to be of Art
Cannes. Go or not
Your parents wanted one? “serious” profession for you?
All my friends wanted to be bankers, doctors, lawyers. I did not know what to do. Someone noticed that I was doing all the time jokes. I was advised to lay them on paper. What I did, and I sent it to newspapers. It was published, to my surprise. When I saw my name in print, I was in shock. Then I continued … An impresario phoned “? Who is it – It’s a kid, he goes to school in Brooklyn.” I was hired for $ 40 a week. At 16, it was a fortune! It was two-thirds of the salary of my father, a taxi at the time!
My mother, at first, was recalcitrant. Then, when she saw the checks, she changed her mind. But she was convinced that it would not last. She wanted me to become a pharmacist. To her, I was not smart enough to be a doctor. But pharmacist, yes. “He can sell aspirin doctors,” she said.
in your family, there were artists?
Not at all. My maternal grandfather, a native of Hungary, was selling fruit and vegetables, and my paternal grandfather, who came from Russia, worked for an American coffee company. He lost everything in the Great Depression. Both grandfathers spoiled me. They slipped me all the time coins … No one in my family has ever shown any artistic sense. I am the black sheep.
Kristen Stewart in “Café Society “. (Sabrina Lantos / Gravier Productions)
There’s an impresario in “Café Society”, quite detestable. You have known such characters?
Yes. You sit in front of him, you are 19, it speaks to you, pauses, picks up the phone and talk to Fred Astaire. Hard. No one took me seriously. I went from office to office, convinced that nobody would ever remember. And finally, I was reminded. By mistake, no doubt.
What was the moment when you felt that luck finally smiled you?
When I was hired to write jokes for “Sid Caesar Show” on TV in the early 1950s it was the most popular show at the time. Gagmen in the team, there was Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Larry Gelbart, and me. I was 19! The king was not my cousin! Nobody has hazed. It was very warm.
However, your first movie scenarios were very slurried …
At the theater and on TV, there was a form of respect for authors. In Hollywood, the author is the last wheel of the coach. It’s an impossible job. Even if one is Scott Fitzgerald and Faulkner. Unfortunately, to start, you have to go through the humiliation. It was only seventh film, “Annie Hall,” I could get complete control. They trusted me: I did not used to spend the money anyway, the audience liked me, and I’ve never done a movie incomprehensible
I wish to make. movies like the French, then: with weird camera movements, mysterious scenes stuff totally crazy. It was exciting to watch. But the Americans thought it was good for the trash. We, the youth, we thought it was fascinating, very forefront …
You became director by desire to control your work. Are there been moments of discouragement?
No. Never. Once you have learned the basic techniques, it’s easy. It’s like cycling. Once we know pedaling, you know. Inspiration follows. That said, over the years, my staging has become more free, less corseted. Even when I write, I know what I can get. I make less mistakes at the beginning.
Some become filmmakers by taste for beautiful girls.
This is definitely one of my main motivations. I wanted a job that puts me in the presence of beautiful women, which is not necessarily the case when it becomes pharmacist. Or accountant. Filmmaker? I had a chance. In showbiz, one encounters actresses, top models … And that’s what happened. I do not regret having abandoned my career aspirins dealer.
the director on the set of “Café Society”. (Sabrina Lantos / Gravier Productions)
What do you think of the current cinema?
I’m not enchanted. Today, that would finance a film by Antonioni? It’s like James Joyce: You are on the wave length or not. In my youth, there were fans of Fellini and Antonioni fans. Two clans, who disputed. I was for two, a clan to myself. What was easier for the voting sessions.
What were your most successful films to you?
“Husbands and Wives” in 1992 and “Match Point” in 2005. I needed sun, the sun was there. Clouds ? They came. I had the actors I wanted. I could not miss anything, whatever I do. All contrived miraculously. There were also “Annie Hall”. For me it was a film that had nothing special but, mysteriously, everybody loved him, and he had a great success. Lots of people saw …
Even Donald Trump
He played in one of my films: “Celebrity” in 1998 . it was great: quiet, punctual, he knew his role. This does not mean that he saw my films …
How do you apply?
I could be wrong, but there is no way he becomes president of the United States. It will be difficult to get the appointment, and if he gets it, I think Hillary Clinton will be elected with a tidal electoral tide. Whichever candidate the Republicans, it will be beaten severely. Hillary Clinton is smart, she has experience, and Trump may be a successful businessman, but not a politician. That said, this is what democracy: everyone can try his luck. I will not vote for him, for sure.
You have just finished a series?
Yes. Amazon offered to perform a series of six episodes, and I thought it would be a walk between two films. From TV? Easy. Two, three movements. Finally, it was not so easy. It took write to the cast, to the trails, everything. It’s happening in the 1990s, I play in with Elaine May and Miley Cyrus. This is the story of a couple who sees a third character, in the genre of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” After that, I’ll make a film that was a tragedy.
No. I shot several times in France, “Midnight in Paris”, “Magic in the Moonlight”. And “War and Love” in 1975. I was playing a sperm and a clown in there. Nobody equal me as comical.
From our special correspondent in New York, François Forestier
“Café Society” by Woody Allen, in Cannes and in theaters May 11
Woody Allen, born in 1935 in New York, won Oscars for “Annie Hall” (1978), “Hannah and her sisters” (1987), “Midnight in Paris” (2012). Three of his films have been presented at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival: “Hollywood Ending,” “Midnight in Paris” and “Café Society”
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