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Woody Allen on Woody Allen: In Conversation With Stig Bjorkman Hardcover – November, 1994
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Fans of Woody Allen have long waited to hear him tell us in his own words about his life, his tastes, and his films, but until recently he has been reluctant to give lengthy interviews. This book is the conversation we've been waiting for, a dialogue with Stig Bjorkman in which Allen speaks openly about himself and his art. Bjorkman invites the writer/director to talk at length about his lesser-known movies as well as his famous ones. We also learn about Allen's filmmaking technique, his feelings about his stock company of actors, his influences, and why Stardust Memories and The Purple Rose of Cairo are his two personal favorites.
From Publishers Weekly
In this collection of interviews with Bjorkman, a Swedish filmmaker, Allen emerges as a disciplined worker, far different from his famed persona as self-pitying and neurotic. The book will delight-and relieve-his fans. Allen discusses his craft and ouevre, with a chapter devoted to each film in chronological order from Take the Money and Run to Manhattan Murder Mystery. He recommends "Socratic" learning rather than film school and reveals that he once did many takes but now, with increased confidence, infrequently reshoots scenes. He defends his portrayals of blacks against criticism from African American groups that he casts them only as menial characters, explains that his temperament determines the length of his films ("Scorsese's body rhythm is longer") and knocks American movie reviewers who "gush tremendously over populist junk films." There's virtually nothing here about his recently turbulent personal life, though Allen comments that, "one must be very lucky" to achieve a deep, lasting relationship. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The focus here is really the body of work and not Allen's personal life. Like sitting with a bottle of wine and talking to two intelligent filmmakers about their craft.
Whether you love or hate Woody Allen's work, there is a great deal to learn on film history from this book.
Stig Björkman knows so much about all aspects of film and therefore delivers an outrageously professional interview. But still, the interviewer stays humble, asking questions showing a profound knowledge of the subject. Since Woody Allen is very good at answering in a direct but well thought about way, it never gets boring and never seems primitive that the book is written simply in direct dialogue.
What I personally appreciate as well is that the talk is purely about film and about Woody Allen as an artist - his private life does not enter unless it is closely related to the discussed subjects. So you get a very relevant view to Woody Allen's career. Because of Stig Björkman's high professionalism, and because of Woody Allen's conversation talent and open mind.
It never gets too intellectual either. In fact, it makes you want to watch the Woody Allen movies you haven't had the opportunity to watch yet.
The only minus is that the book is some years old so that it does not contain discussions on his recent very interesting films.
But as it is an unrejectable document on film history, "Woody Allen On Woody Allen" does belong on any film friends' bookshelf!
If you really want to read an in depth and intelligent conservation about the entire process of filmmaking from inception to completion, check out this book. Woody is very frank, candid and let's you take a glance inside his restless and constantly creative mind.
I loved learning the behind the scenes details of his movies, but now I wish someone would write a book about his personal philosophies of life. I find his religious, socio-political ideas rivoting, provoking, and unique. The book provides a glimpse into the workings of the inner mind of a genius.
My only complaint is that it wasn't longer.
As the other reviews describe, Bjorkman takes Woody through each of films, and asks great questions. Even down to the subtleties of issues like why, since Annie Hall, he has used the same simple white-on-black titles. Other great topics include his use of music in film, and his writing and directing processes.
I always wondered these same type of things. So, for me, an interesting and wonderful read. A must for people who want to know what Woody's like this side of the camera.