Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1980. Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions, Rollins-Joffe Productions. Screenplay by Woody Allen. Cinematography by Gordon Willis. Produced by Robert Greenhut. Production Design by Mel Bourne. Costume Design by Santo Loquasto. Film Editing by Susan E. Morse.
One of Woody Allen‘s less inspired works, this bitter film is the director’s response to the criticism he received for the post-Annie Hall change in his style. He plays a filmmaker who is trying to sort out his personal life during a film festival retrospective of his works that is attended by fans and critics alike. Meanwhile, his ex-wife (Charlotte Rampling) has gone mad in a mental institution and his feelings about his beautiful current flame (a delightful Marie-Christine Barrault) are unresolved. Modeled quite obviously on Fellini’s 8 1/2, the film is too shallow to make any of its fancy camerawork feel important, compounded by the acidic tone taken towards viewers of Allen’s character’s films (which the director says is pure fiction and not his own true feelings). The performances are strong, though, and it does feature the momentary debut (as ‘Girl On Train’) of one of Hollywood’s greatest movie stars, Sharon Stone (that same year she auditioned for Raging Bull, whose director Martin Scorsese she would later work with on Casino, and lost the part to Cathy Moriarty, with whom she would later work with on Gloria).