Previous film:

Stardust Memories

USA 1980. Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Tony Roberts

Woody Allen spends a weekend at the Stardust Hotel — and is in strikingly venomous mode — in the highly autobiographic, savagely self-satirizing Stardust Memories, a film often referred to as Allen’s . Allen’s movie is self-consciously modelled on — and pays tribute to, and parodies — Fellini’s great masterpiece; but, as with other Allen films of the era, in which the comedian-turned-director became more “serious” as an artist, there’s a fair bit of Bergman here too (particularly Wild Strawberries). Allen plays neurotic comedian-turned-filmmaker Sandy Bates, who arrives at the Stardust Hotel in New Jersey for a weekend seminar and retrospective devoted to his work. Suffering from creative block, and juggling the various women in his life, he is besieged by critics, studio executives, sycophants, and fans — most quite vocal about the fact they prefer his “earlier, funnier movies” to those he now makes. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white by Allen regular Gordon Willis, and full of the vintage jazz music Allen adores (including Louis Armstrong’s version of “Stardust”), Stardust Memories drips with acid humour, misanthropy, and a fair bit of self-indulgence and self-loathing. “Misunderstood and maligned ... The film remains one of Allen’s most complex and fascinating works” (Jeff Stafford, Turner Classic Movies). B&W, 35mm. 89 mins.