I watched Annie Hall for the first time today. I enjoyed it for myriad reasons: Diane Keaton’s humor and style. Woody Allen’s jokes (which I now see have influenced so many other variations on the romantic comedy). The literary references. The pokes at the extravagance of Hollywood and the neurosis of New Yorkers.
When I make the time to watch a movie or tv show these days, I’ve been trying to focus on those that inspire me and have inspired countless others: classics, whether that be the Criterion Collection or a new classic. Last week, I watched Chinatown. I loved the mystery, the cinematography, shots of California, and seeing a young Jack Nicholson.
Watching these movies gave me a new connection with my mom: these are two of her favorite movies, and she recommended them both to me.
Then I remembered what the directors of both movies, Woody Allen and Roman Polansky, are most known for today: their infamous (and in Polansky’s case, illegal) relations with women. Of course, when my mom watched them, Polanksy and Allen hadn’t yet committed the acts that would put one in exile. Still, I started to wonder, does their behavior outside of the studio take away from their art?
I’m not so much trying to answer this question as to present it for discussion. Maybe there are two lenses through which we can approach any creation: as independent of its creator, appreciated solely for what it represents to us, and secondly, as a backdrop for the person who has created it.