Festival of love | Film Magazine

Festival of love |  Film Magazine

By Maria do Rosario Cataಾನo

Cinegrams have a special reason to watch Woody Allen’s fifth film, “The Festival of Love” (some sources reach 57 titles), previewing in theaters, with its premiere on Thursday, December 30th. In addition to staying at the San Sebasti ಉತ್n Festival in the Spanish Basque Country, the New York-based director is having conversations with some of the most brilliant filmmakers in the world. It starts with Orson Welles and “Citizen Kane”, Fellini and “8 1/2”, Truffaut and “Jules at Jim”, Buುuel and “The Exterminating Angel”, and three Bergmans to its patron: “The Seventh Seal” , “Wild Strawberries” and “Persona”. And we can’t forget about Jean-Luc Godard and his “bull”. The film is remembered as a legitimate piece and a satirical reference.

Everything suggests that Woody Allen does not have Godard on his cinematic altar. But his alter ego – in “Rifkins Festival” – is a film teacher, Mort Rifkin (Wallace Shawn). A university professor who decided to leave her classes to dedicate herself to writing fiction. Jewish, intellectual and master of corrosive humor, Mort wants to make a fairy tale that matches Dostoevsky’s. Nothing less. But his ambitions end up paralyzing him. And, to make matters worse, there is the envy of the beautiful and elegant wife of filmmaker Sue (Gina Gershon).

Mort suspects that Sue is in love with one of his film service clients, the young Philip (Louis Garrel), a French director on the sidewalk. On top of that, with face and mouth, the Latin lover plays bongos. In addition to these three actors, there are other prominent European names in the film: Austrian Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Bastards”) and the Spaniards Elena Anaya (from “Lucia and Sex”), Sergei Lopez (“Pornhouse”) and Enrique Arce (“Paper House”) ), It is in the skin of the filmmaker, who instils new doubts and consequently jealousy in Mort’s head.

The hormone torpedo Elena Anaya, who worked with Pedro Almodovar on the disturbing “A Pele Que Habito,” is a doctor who is beautiful and suffering. Joe Rojas. Hypochondriac, a New Yorker consulted with Mort Rifkin. She discovered the ailments to be with a dedicated Spanish woman who studied in the USA and was a very sophisticated and apparently calm girl. But, to the frustration of the patient-visitor, she loses control over a telephone quarrel with her treacherous husband, a warm-blooded painter (Sergei Lopez). Platonic fervor connects Sue’s husband with a San Sebastian doctor.

“The Festival of Love” is part of Wood Allen’s non-New York films. The video game, starring superheroes driven by special effects, was the beginning of the North American industry. With no supporters in his country, the directors of “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan” traveled to Europe. Prior to London, where he directed “Match Point” (2005), one of his best films was “Scoop” (2006) and “Cassandra’s Dream” (2007). The following year, Spanish producers financed their new venture into the old world: “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, filmed in Catalonia (Barcelona, ​​Aviles and Ovido). With the cast of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, the film was hugely successful and sparked interest from new financiers. In 2011, another pop (by Woody Allen standards): “At midnight in Paris”. How to get a chance in beautiful Italy? There, the New Yorker directed “To Rome, With Love” (2012). It did not repeat the success of previous films.

The Spaniards wanted more. As Woody Allen enjoyed the San Sebastian Festival he had already visited and loved the city by the sea, the new Spanish film – tales of cinephilia, tourism, love and resentment, existential question and philosophical “pins and needles”. In a few moments of the film, the film teacher and writer pushes his interlocutor, dedicating himself to films rooted in good causes. Be it the climate crisis, political issues or statements like “war is hell.” The great human questions (doubts) that interest him are the raw material of his idol, Ingmar Bergman.

“The Festival of Love” is a commissioned film. It cannot be denied. But what a good order. The result satisfies the public, because it is pure Woody Allen, and the sponsors are the same (all the tourist beauties of San Sebastian are printed on screen). Dr. Rojas is willing to take Mort on a trip to the city. Everything flows in serene, playful and glamorous colors, thanks to the talent of the director and his partner in numerous films, the brilliant photographer, the Italian Vittorio Storro, Bernardo Bertolucci’s partner, Carlos Soura and other cinema masters.

Woody Allen’s comedy gives his metallicistic references a pleasure to film lovers. Watching its protagonist – the jealous Mort – insert himself into dreams in films he loves (and studied so much with his students) makes for precious moments. Along with him, Mort makes a feast of classics (all in black and white) with his surrounding characters. In “Jules at Jim, A Woman for Two,” Sue Jean Moreau, and he and Louis Garrell play the roles of Oscar Werner and Henry Serre. In “Persona, When to Women Sin,” Gina Gershon and Elena Anaya discuss spiritual issues, as did Bibi Anderson and Liv Ullman.

Not to be outdone, Woody mentions “A Man and a Woman” by Claude Lelouch, winner of the 66th Cannes Festival, filled with the beauty and charm of Anouk Aime with a soundtrack influenced by Bossa-Nova. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Pierre Barrouh. In San Sebastian, when this year’s festival opened Horse Concours, Allen recalled the impact Lelouch’s work had had on the US, winning the Oscar for a foreign film.

Festival of love | The Riffin Festival
Spain, 88 minutes, 2021
Direction: Woody Allen
Photography: Vittorio Storaro
Cast: Wallace Shawn, Gina Gershon, Louise Garrell, Elena Anaya, Sergey Lopez, Christoph Waltz, Enrique Arce, Georgina Amoros, Andrea Trepat, Steve Gutenberg

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