AM I BLUE?
Before it left the local theaters, some friends and I went to see Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. True to all reports, Cate Blanchett is stunning in the starring role of what in many ways is an old-fashioned morality play--one with Wall Street traders, trophy wives and jewelry like the proverbial pigeons’ eggs.
I’d been dying to see the movie ever since I read Mark Olsen’s interview with Woody Allen in the Chicago Tribune. (7/28/13)
Olsen quotes Allen, who both wrote and directed Jasmine, as saying, “I don’t know why they like one (movie) and not another . . . If I could figure it out, I might be able to get rich.”
So the great W.A. can’t figure out what succeeds, which story to tell, which idea to promote? Sound familiar?
In his search for perfection, Woody is apparently hard to please. As Blanchett says,
“ . . . he is never satisfied (with his work) . . . he is actually in some exquisite agony and it’s horrific for him often to hear what he’s written.” Hasn’t every writer you know experienced the same feeling? But this is a man who’s won multiple Oscars, for Pete sake.
For Allen, “his films almost exist in some way outside of his control. They’re not autobiographical, he claims. Yet unconsciously recurrent themes emerge.” Over time, haven’t you seen this happening in your own work--a thread, a core idea that underlies every book you write? Maybe the search for peace, for love, for justice. Whatever. It’s there, lurking below the surface.
Of all the Allen quotes in the article, my favorite is, “I’m thinking of entertaining. That I feel is my first obligation. Then, if you can also say something, make a statement or elucidate a character or create emotions in people where they’re sad or laughing, that’s all extra. But to make a social point or a psychological point without being entertaining is homework. That’s lecturing.” How true.
And lest I be accused of that very thing, I’m outta here!