By twhalliii | THE BACK ROW MANIFESTO by Tom Hall February 18, 2009 at 8:30AM
As things are locking and loading for the Sarasota Film Festival, I waste more time talking about movie posters...
After yesterday's clue, it took all of one guess to unlock the mystery reflected in the glass of the Une Nouvelle Vie poster. The poster for Woody Allen's Interiors was a Christmas gift from my dad, the man who is probably genetically responsible for my obsession with collecting; he collects everything from military antiques from World War II to old 45 rpm records (thousands) to old movie posters, especially ones featuring his favorite movie cowboy, Bob Steele. Somehow, my dad overcame his general distaste for all things New York (including the films of Woody Allen) to give me a wonderful gift.
I actually really like this movie, but I know it is not a favorite for many. Writing in the NY Times Vincent Canby wrote:
"My problem with Interiors is that although I admire the performances and isolated moments, as well as the techniques and the sheer, headlong courage of this great, comic, film-making philosopher, I haven't any real idea what the film is up to. It's almost as if Mr. Allen had set out to make someone else's movie, say a film in the manner of Mr. Bergman, without having any grasp of the material, or first-hand, gut feelings about the characters. They seem like other people's characters, known only through other people's art."
Hmm. I don't agree with that at all. I know I have written about this before, but for me as a boy growing up in Michigan and discovering Woody Allen's late-70's/early-80's New York City universe as a series of VHS rentals from the local video store, Interiors was an almost impossibly emotional movie; people talk like this to one another?!? They have problems like this? This was also only a few years into my parents' own divorce, so I think part of me related to the daughters and their attempt to reconcile long-standing issues with a new familial reality. Something in the film struck a chord in me, let's just say that; I consider this film one of the better of Woody's dramas (which would reach their apotheosis in Crimes and Misdemeanors and the tragicomic Husbands and Wives), even if it is Woody's homage to Bergman's Cries and Whispers (which is another film I think is unbelievably great). I still believe Diane Keaton's performance as Renata is amazing in this film, the tough, angry middle ground between the bubbly Annie Hall and the neurotic and underhanded Mary Wilkie in Manhattan (still Allen's greatest film, in my opinion). As a kid, Interiors represented an impenetrable grown-up world and now, as a grown-up living in New York City, it seems more like a look into the exotic neuroses of the upper classes in a society that refuses to acknowledge class distinctions; Interiors shows family guilt as the luxury it is.
More posters await...