Stardust Memories (1980)

“Summer of Film #27 of 100”:http://www.devanshanu.com/things/2005/06/12/2005-summer-of-film/
Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories is the film equivalent of a mid-life crisis; I guess the appropriate description would be a mid-career crisis. However, instead of the flashy extravagance, Allen opts for moody introspection as a character not unlike himself- a director who is trying to look for deeper meaning in his career. Why does he make films? Why does it matter that he does? Will it matter more if he make serious ones?

He plays Sandy Bates who like Allen himself is repeatedly reminded by fans and colleagues that they liked his ‘earlier funnier movies’. Bates, at a weekend retrospective of his films, wonders if his life would be more meaningful if he made serious films- or if he did not make films at all. What follows is a series of Freudian (or Felliniesque or Bergmanian) dreams, flashbacks and fantasies intercut with scenes from Bates’ own films which all work towards Allen’s apparent search for meaning.

After 35+ years of Woody Allen movies (and after, ironically, his having recently returned to his ‘earlier funnier movies’ style) it is easy to see this movie as his 1980 pause-and-reflect film before moving on to better things.

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