Directors A-Z

Directors A-Z: Woody Allen (#1)

Directors A-Z is a series on Screen Waffle that looks at film directors biographically through the alphabet. Today's entry is Woody Allen.

Heywood “Woody” Allen (born Allan Steward Konigsberg) was born in Brooklyn, New York City, on 1st December 1995. Allen’s film career started in 1966 with What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” as his directorial debut, although he had written the screenplay for “What’s New, Pussycat?” in 1965 a year earlier.


Allen’s films have shifted in genre across his career, moving from his early comedy work, (Bananas 1971), romantic comedies (Annie Hall 1977 and Manhattan 1979), the Bergmanesque (Stardust Memories 1980), light comedy (Scoop 2006) to the dark and destructive (Match Point 2005).


One theme that has lasted throughout Allen’s work is that of his relationship with women and death. Before becoming a director, Allen performed stand-up comedy which used the same topics as a focal point.


“[…] in film, Allen’s brilliance as director, writer, and star with final authority over production made him a historic figure of accomplishment, a judgement about his overall work that still holds true today.”

Sam Girgus in The Films of Woody Allen, 2002.


Something that has been well documented is the journey Allen’s filmmaking has made; “after a decade of on-the-job training, his directing became increasingly sophisticated, ambitious, and visually articulate, with precise and masterful attention to colour, composition, and movement.” (Jonathon Kirshner for Bright Lights Film in 2015).


Despite Allen’s films existing in a fluctuation of genre, the quality of his films has remained high over the years. Because of this, Allen has what John Carvill describes as a “rhetorical weapon”, meaning that whenever Allen’s status and authenticity as a filmmaker is pulled into question, his impressive back catalogue speaks for itself.


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Sources used in this article:

The Films of Woody Allen, 2002 – available from: http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam033/2002025617.pdf

Woody Allen at Eighty, 2015 – available from: https://brightlightsfilm.com/a-much-more-thoughtful-and-is-it-possible-more-mature-director-woody-allen-at-eighty/#.XrnQKGhKjIU

Hanging in a Classroom Some Day: Woody Allen, Artistic Legacy, and the Blu-ray Editions of Annie Hall and Manhattan – available from: https://brightlightsfilm.com/hanging-classroom-day-woody-allen-artistic-legacy-blu-ray-editions-annie-hall-manhattan/#.XrnQLmhKjIU

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