Friday, January 17, 2014
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
"In September 1993, Connecticut state's attorney Frank Maco declared that he would not prosecute Woody Allen in court for the charges of sexual abuse of a child. He did, however, publicly declarethat he had both probable cause and evidence that such abuse had taken place. The decision was made to protect the child in question from the publicity and trauma of a court appearance. After all, Dylan Farrow, who'd recently told her mother and pediatrician what had happened in the family's attic, was only 7-years-old.
That same year, I saw Annie Hall for the first time. I was lying on the floor of my grandfather's study in Gramercy Park, because it was dark and had the biggest TV screen in the house, and he wanted my first Woody Allen experience to be as close to the big-screen movie experience as possible. I got it. Well, I didn't exactly get it — all these grown-ups falling in and out of dizzy, messy, complicated love — but, I got why this was great. I'd never felt so instantly connected to a film. I wanted to run out of my grandparents' apartment and into that New York, all swingy with jazz music and magical thinking made manifest. I looked up at my grandfather and saw him laughing like I'd never heard the man laugh before. This was a formal, grandfather-clock of a grandfather, and to see him whack the arm of his chair with a fist in sheer delight as the onscreen couple whizzed across the city in a VW Beetle made me understand why people loved Woody with such reverence and passion. He made so many great things — New York, the film world, Diane Keaton — even greater under his gaze."
Thanks for Indira for sharing this article. In September of 1993 I had just turned 10 years old. I always knew about Woody Allen marrying his adopted Asian daughter, but I never knew about the allegations of him sexual abusing his 7 year old daughter. Which goes without saying is unforgivable and morally repugnant. Some fucking weirdos might argue she was adopted- but really? Still YOUR CHILD! Still A CHILD!
For whatever reason, I never watched Annie Hall. And for whatever other reason, unlike a lot of my peers, Woody Allen is not even remotely on my radar of film legends. I never watched his movies, and his big black frames and goofy demeanor never convinced me of any overlooked eccentric genius I cared to know. His catalogue of films is extensive spanning 71 credits on IMDB, but somehow I've only seen Midnight in Paris and that was made in 2011! So as an individual, it is quite simple for me to separate the art from it's creator. For me, there is no art or fond coming of age nostalgia to equalize or justify the behavior of it's "troubled" maker.
It seems that Allen has been able to escape the public's eye relatively unscathed the past few decades. He's evaded being marked an outright child molester probably because his case never went to trial. Apparently, Mia Farrow did not want her child to have to endure going through a trial. In this universe, he's basically just skated by with pedophilia question mark whenever a photo of him and his other child- the Asian child bride- appear in any press photo.
Ignorance is bliss. And it's definitely bliss for anyone who would rather not make a hard decision to reevaluate what they support or what they find to be true. And while there are plenty of fucked up people in this world making decisions for everyone else, influencing lives, playing a part, and in this case, accepting both fame and recognition for a lifetime achievement award, as media consumers I find it almost an obligation to be able to dismantle a celebrity. I find it almost a moral obligation to be able to wake up from a Hollywood or media induced haze of consciousness as much as I love watching movies or looking at art.
Let's just say if one day someone came up to me and said "Hey, Jilleen, you really need to check out this film! It's been described as both"seminal" and "masterful", peppered in with wit and intellectual references that will compel the inner rom-com fanatic that you are! Look- it's the original, unconventional, New York, rom-com, Jilleen!" I'd say " What's the catch?" And they'd say "Alleged child molestor."
"No thanks. Not for me." As much as I'd like to experience the cinematic attempt of truth at unmasking the complications of relationships, love, and life, I have absolutely no desire to strike a common chord with someone who despite being able to capture something so generationally spell binding, still resorted to molesting a child.