Love and Death

Reading through What Is to Be Done?, I found myself remembering Woody Allen’s film, Love and Death, from 1975.  The stilted dialog and philosophical expositions in the novel are so wooden, they seem like the parody of Allen’s film.  I am amazed at how much of the film I remembered, but I thought it was much funnier this time around, despite the fact that when I saw it, I was in my Russian Lit phase.

It’s a wild parody and pastiche of 19th century Russian literary themes, primarily Tolstoy’s War and Peace and various Dostoyevsky works, with visuals that humorously echo Ingmar Bergman.  In the scene above, Allen, a new recruit, shamed into enlisting to fight Napoleon, is upbraided by a black drill sergeant.  He goes on to inadvertently save the battle by being shot out of a canon into the French generals’ tent.

I even found Diane Keaton, an actress to whom I usually react as to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, very entertaining.

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6 Responses to Love and Death

  1. Regi says:

    Sonya: Boris, look at this leaf. Isn’t it perfect? And this one? I definitely think that this is the best of all possible worlds.

    Boris: Well it’s certainly the most expensive.

  2. Guy Savage says:

    Coincidence: I’m rewatching Woody Allen–one film a week. So far Husbands & Wives and Crimes and Misdemeanors. This week: Deconstructing Harry

  3. Man of Roma says:

    I even found Diane Keaton, an actress to whom I usually react as to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, very entertaining

    You made me laugh. I loved her though in “Provaci ancora Sam” (forgot the original US name. No, it’s ‘Play It Again, Sam’).

    Woody is more and more super. Much loved here in Europe by everyone, as it is known, and by the young people too. To me one of the greatest directors in the world.

    • Lichanos says:

      To me one of the greatest directors in the world.

      He’s made so many films, and they have changed quite a bit over time. I tend not to like his ‘later’ ones, that is, the ones he made once he got ‘serious.’

      Hannah & Her Sisters, Annie Hall, Crimes & Misdemeanors…I’ll leave them. Still, Broadway Danny Rose is wonderful, so he hits it still, once in a while.

      Midnight in Paris, his latest…entertaining for sure, but a piece of fluff. Hardly the work of ‘the greatest.’ And with a few changes, it could have been quite a few of his recent films.

      I’m just a crank, and he’s an ‘institution’ now…

  4. Man of Roma says:

    Midnight in Paris has not been distributed here yet if I’m not wrong.

    My memory is waning but many of his last films have quite struck me amid the international film panorama that is depressing a bit.

    No problem in being a crank. But one has to be happy when someone with real special talent (don’t know hot to better say that now) becomes an institution.

    The problem is those institutions deprived of that very special talent – like Polansky, in my opinion (I’m not referring at all to his personal life), or our Italian poet Eugenio Montale who received the nobel prize in 1975: the Argentinian Jorge Luis Borges was much much more worthy of it, but he never received the prize.

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