Directed by Woody Allen
Meet Wallace Shawn, Gina Gershon, Louis Jarrell
Criticism of Woody Allen’s forty-ninth film “Rifkin Festival” – he said he wanted to stop after the fiftieth film – could already be drawn in advance. In fact, you may have already managed to write the review. Because it really is: Woody Allen is repeating himself. Jokes, pretty women, the neurotic surrogate ego of the filmmaker: The whole plan goes through again. Although it must be said that you could also have claimed this with his forty-eighth film “A Rainy Day in New York,” he still makes a new impression.
Does the director have to reinvent the revolution with every 85-year-old movie? This appears to be an absurd requirement. Woody Allen is a filmmaker, whatever your opinion of the scandal he is involved in, he has given the world no fewer than ten amazing films. Work furthermore works as a kind of Neurotic International, where neurosurgeons from all countries learn about each other’s insecurities. This deserves respect.
The Rifkin Festival is held at the Film Festival in the beautiful Spanish city of San Sebastián, where the film was also shown last September. Neuroticus du jour is Mort Rifkin, played by Wallace Shawn with a typical compressed voice. He accompanies his wife Sue to the festival and hopes to have dinner every now and then. Maybe a stroll on the street. Who do you know. There the publicity cares for a pompous filmmaker who is celebrated for his beautiful movies, but in reality excels only in the ugly nothingness. Sue is completely done with Rifkin and she shows it. Rifkin is actually a pompous whiner, but without the festival awards.
In practice, all this leaves a faded impression
Due to chest pain, Brevkin ends up with a Spanish cardiologist and this Joe Rogas makes his heart beat faster instantly. At least, what’s left of this heart then. Then one by one he makes up for unexplained coughing, lumps and itching just to see them again.
It might sound fun on paper, and Allen’s neurosis and its endless monologues might earn some karmic points for recognition. But in practice, this all leaves a faded impression. The magic timing of the jokes Allen had always been good at is gone. He doesn’t adjust his movies himself, but the inevitable delay that we’ll all experience when we turn 85 also seems to be a part of the movie. Jokes seem extended, timing is off. At least, not for everyone under the age of 80.
Anyone who wholeheartedly watches Woody Allen movies should definitely see Rifkin Festival, because all of those sequels are a reflection of Allen’s life. This makes this movie so worthwhile. Just don’t expect anything new.