Nobody can deny that Woody Allen is an exceptional creator, whose innumerable movies have given us all hours and hours of sheer joy. But in recent years, he much like his fellow filmmaker, Roman Polanski, has been bogged down by allegation of sexual abuse. Allen's adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, has said that he sexually molested her many years ago – when she was just seven. There have been charges and counter charges with Allen hotly denying them all.
Sadly, these charges have been casting a shadow on Allen. But while Hollywood has been severing ties with him , the European movie industry continues to embrace the auteur.
Come July 10, Allen will begin shooting a film for the Spanish giant, Mediapro. The movie is yet to be titled, but will have on its cast Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon, Sergi López, Wally Shawn and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz.
Waltz was a Quentin Tarantino find in Inglorious Basterds – a gripping story of a World War II Jewish fantasy to get all the top Nazi leaders together and bomb them out of existence. Waltz, a relatively unknown German television star, catapulted into stardom with his brilliant performance as a cruel Nazi officer.
We do not know what Waltz would play in his latest outing with Allen, but a Mediapro press release has this to say about the film: “It tells the story of a married American couple who go to the San Sebastian Film Festival. They get caught up in the magic of the festival, the beauty and charm of Spain and the fantasy of movies. She has an affair with a brilliant French film director, and he falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman who lives there. It is a comedy-romance that resolves itself in a funny but romantic way”.
Mediapro said that it had had a productive professional relationship with Allen having worked with him in three earlier projects, including Oscar winning Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight in Paris.
While the first was shot in Barcelona with Javier Bardem, who has a sexual fling with two American tourists, while his emotionally-imbalanced ex-wife (Penelope Cruz), tries to get into this cosy little arrangement. Midnight in Paris talks about an unfulfilled Hollywood screenwriter's tryst with his dream of becoming a novelist and living in Paris during the rains.
Mediapro said in a statement to The New York Times: “We have a 10-year relationship with Mr. Allen and, like all projects we produce, we judge the creator by his work. All of our projects have a unique personality, and we support all types of artistic voices and ideas, and remain committed to producing well-defined and creative projects for audiences worldwide.”
In line with this, many European distribution companies will soon release Allen's last work, A Rainy Day in New York. But American distributors are staying away from it.
A long-time associate of Allen, Bardem quipped: “I don’t agree with the public lynching that he’s been receiving, and if Woody Allen called me to work with him again I’d be there tomorrow morning. He’s a genius.”
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is an author, commentator and move critic)