Stardust Memories

Stardust Memories isn't all that bad; I remember reading about how the critics hated the way Allen seemed to turn upon his core audience and send them up, but no one seems to point out that Allen mercilessly caricatures the character he's playing as well (he's on record as saying it isn't autobiographical, none of it is). If the world seems hostile and incomprehensible to Sandy, that's his point of view; he refuses to understand the world, or to admit that maybe it's not all about him.

Maybe where I'd fault it is in the way it evokes its models so religously: Fellini of course, but for some weird reason I keep seeing Fellini strained through the sensibility of a Bergman, or Allen's idea of Bergman--circus grotesquerie framed by Swedish severity, in short, a weird combination. Big mistake; he evokes Fellini and Bergman, but can't make them his own, or can't come up with equivalent images or moments that would rival the films he's trying to emulate--it remains borrowed Fellini, secondhand Bergman. Gordon Willis' black and white work here is gorgeous, however--maybe his best work aside from the Godfather films.

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