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The fact is that Woody Allen is one of the great filmmakers to grace the American cinema. Granted, his films today have lost some of their public lustre due to the travails of his personal life and the unbearable political incorrectness of being Woody. Yet fifty years from now, he will be spoken of without hesitation or apology with names such as Kubrick, Ford, Keaton, Spielberg or Malick as one of the greats. Some critics realized this more than twenty years ago and have conveniently forgotten it.
But "Stardust Memories", if he never made another film, would insure his place among filmmaking elite. The movie in its time was castigated by critics because it presciently observed them as the high priests of a society which worships culture above art. Culture, of course, changes with the seasons but art is that constant which connects us to each other and the world throughout those changes. Further, it's release coincided with the death of John Lennon. The scene where Sandy Bates is shot by a crazed fan was uncomfortably closer to reality than the comic moment it wished to establish. Great movie, but it's release date just wasn't -- ahem! -- in the stars.
"Stardust Memories" is as close to perfect a film as I have ever seen. It borrows the structural approach to its story from Fellini's "8 1/2" but is so true to its own purpose it never seems derivative.Read more ›
So far, the character Sandy sounds a lot like Allen who initially made only funny films, but moved unto weightier topics, and you are right, it probably is about Allen. However, through the course of the film, we realize that Allen is making much more than a simple diclosure. The film goes a step further by nesting the movie in Sandy's psyche. It is difficult to discern if we are watching a film Sandy made, or watching what really went on during the film festival, or if we are reliving Sandy's memories as a young boy who learned magic tricks to impress friends, or kissed his actress-lover, Dorrie in the rain.
Furthermore, the film forces us, the audience, to ask the same troubling questions about life that Sandy confronts. In one scene of the movie, Sandy asks some aliens (who have very conspicuous NY accents) why there is so much human suffering. They answer back by saying he is asking the wrong questions. He asks another question--what is the point of living?Read more ›
The action begins when overstressed movie director Sandy Bates (Woody Allen) is pushed into attending a two day film festival in his honor. At the festival they show his "funny films;" and Bates is lauded for that by his adoring--and endlessly pestering--fans who want many more comedies from Bates. Trouble is, however, that Sandy Bates no longer wants to make funny movies. Instead, he now prefers to make artistic, meaningful movies that reflect the human condition--or perhaps Sandy may even want to quit the film industry altogether and go into some type of profession in which he can help other people.
There are not one, not two, but three women in Sandy's life. His relationship with his former lover Dorrie (Charlotte Rampling) is portrayed very well in flashbacks; and his current romance with Isobel (Marie-Christine Barrault) is a bit shaky at times but it's still ongoing. Sandy also flirts with another woman he meets at the film festival; he likes Daisy's (Jessica Harper) artistic and sensitive qualities.
Look for excellent performance by Tony Roberts who plays himself; and Helen Hanft plays Vivian Orkin, the "MC" of the film festival.
Overall, if you've seen Fellini's 8 1/2, you're going to appreciate this film more than if you haven't. At the same time, however, other people will still get a lot out of this even if they haven't seen 8 1/2. I highly recommend this film for Woody Allen fans and people who enjoy artistic cinema with very high quality control.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is typical woody allen nonsense. I'd give it zero stars if there was that option.Published 2 months ago by ibrewneked
Allen's earlier or later movies are much better. Somehow this one just does not work.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
It is not one of Woody Allen's best. I wished they would put his other movies online to rent or purchase.Published 5 months ago by Andra
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