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Woody Allen between Jews and Hollywood | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Director Woody Allen arrives for the premiere of his film ‘Magic in the Moonlight’ in New York July 17, 2014. Reuters

U.S. actor, director, and scenarist Woody Allen represents a unique case in the modern cinema; a case that attracts seekers of true cinema whether among audience or specialized critics. Considering myself one of the audiences seeking for reliability, it’s hard to know if I can feel careless about the show of a new film signed by Woody Allen.

The U.S director has chosen to be distinguished and focused on black comedy, speech of cultural, political and social protest, and has enjoyed a charisma on the screen. While watching Allen’s movies, people don’t just laugh and observe the cultured critic, but also they watch Allen himself given that he is the director, actor, and scenarist in most of times.

Manhattan, Hannah and her Sisters, and Midnight in Paris are some of the most unforgettable movies of Allen, in which he reiterates the same equation: social/political sarcastic critic narrated by an observer from inside or out of the scene to reveal problems like hypocrisy and individual seclusion as part of an intellectual proposal comprising thoughts of Freud or Marx with a comic spirit.

Allen’s last movie “Café Society” was a story from the thirties on a young man from a Jewish family from New York who decides to go to Hollywood, where his rich uncle works; the man doesn’t enjoy any acting skills but he sought a vacancy far from his life’s boring conditions with a loser father and an old mother. In this movie, Allen has recalled its favorite topic: criticizing Jews of the United States and highlighting their role through this critic. It is worth mentioning that Woody Allen belongs to a Jewish family and focuses in many of his movies on extracting the sarcastic element from the Jewish life, styles, and culture. However, in other places of his works, the director focuses on highlighting the excellence of Jewish people, who played a remarkable role in the cinema industry after the two world wars and the Jewish immigration.

Celebrities like Mel Gibson, Marlon Brando, and Oliver Stone said on many occasions that Jewish figures are behind the creation of Hollywood; in fact Warner brothers who established the Warner Bros for cinema industry and Michael Eisner, founder of Disney company are Jewish; many other factors also emphasize the celebrities’ allegation like Hollywood’s constant focus on the Holocaust, along with many other elements like describing the Jews as minority, whose members enjoy myriad of talents, skills, wealth, and high qualifications.

It is worth mentioning that “Café Society” didn’t just highlight the solidarity in the Jewish society, but also tackled spread characters like the uncle, a successful man who lacks morals; and spread conditions in the U.S. community like familial disconnections.

The criticism made by Allen during his movies appears through behaviors of characters and the voice of the narrator, which is an unbiased voice that seeks neutrality to gain the audience’s trust. However, a mindful audience will swiftly recognize that the narrator is an integral part of his story given that Allen talks about an environment that he socially, ethnically, and professionally belongs to.