[Blueboard] Kino invites you to fall in love with Woody Allen's Manhattan
Andrew Albert J. Ty
aty at admu.edu.ph
Wed Aug 1 06:50:53 PHT 2001
Thanks to all who joined us for Man with the Movie Camera and Sherlock, Jr.
last Thursday. I'm sure it was rather surprising to see films like those.
The first was an experimental, MTV-esque, and occasionally sense-overloading
documentary on the the Soviet Union of the 1920s, visually inventive
depictions of the familiar tropes of modernity: the city, the railroad, the
factories, leisure, etc. The second was a delightful surprise--an
alternately hilarious and awe-inspiring depiction of the fantasy states we
all undergo as film spectators, chockful of stunts and special effects.
Anyway, we hope to see you all again this Thursday, and once more, we'd like
to invite those who weren't able to go. We're beginning a new theme for Kino
this month, which we call City-Symphonies, showcasing films in which cities
prove to be not just mere settings but characters in their own right. We're
showing Woody Allen's Manhattan to kick off this month's screenings.
I'm always fond of telling people that watching Manhattan always makes you
wish for two things afterwards: (1) that you're living in the New York
depicted in the film and (2) that you're in love with someone over there. It
IS a rather sentimental remark, but Manhattan itself is for the most part a
sentimental and highly romanticized tribute to New York City. If you love
New York, vivid black-and-white photography, and the music of George
Gershwin, you'll fall in love with the picture that Allen presents you in
this film, especially in the veritable cinematic ode to the city that opens
Nevertheless, Manhattan is not as simple and straightforward as that. Love
may be central to this film, but that's not the same thing as saying that
it's the only thing that matters in this film. In Manhattan, it sometimes
seems that love, especially romantic love, is illusory and consequently
vulnerable to the harsh shocks of reality, but Allen and his characters
nevertheless bravely hold it up against the soul-deadening tendencies of the
contemporary city. The intriguing tension displayed by neurotic characters
trying to find love amidst cynicism is reflected by the film itself in how
it depicts what it depicts.
Manhattan them offers an alternative to the many contemporary romantic
comedies that it has itself influenced. While it partakes of the mood of
romantic sentimentality, Manhattan uses this almost like a weapon against
the stultifying effects of contemporary city life. Love does not operate in
isolation here but always within an intricate web of conflicting values (or
the lack thereof). Love becomes a matter of a highly personal ethics, one
that may not fare too well against a cynical world but one which we can
scarce afford to give up.
And over all of these looms the city, making this a highly appropriate film
to begin our City-Symphonies. By turns romantic and cynical, hilarious and
heartbreaking, Manhattan is an incredibly gorgeous film to fall in love
with, one which can also provoke you into asking what romantic love means to
you in the soul-deadening milieu of the contemporary city.
Thanks a lot and see you this Thursday!
These films will be screened free of charge at 5:00 on August 02, Thursday,
at the Comm Studio.
Andrew Albert J. Ty
Department of Communication
The city and the cinema have long enjoyed each other’s company as conceptual
relations. Both were, after all, associated with the rise of modernity, in
the creation of the new ways of perception brought about by the heightened
experience of shock and the growth of mass culture. Both the cinema and the
city are now themselves undergoing changes both seismic and subtle in the
face of the eclecticism and virtual character of the postmodern condition.
The films for this month highlight those works in which the cities
themselves function as both setting and character, poetically raising issues
that deal with the city and its multifarious effects on the human subject.
August 02: Manhattan (Woody Allen, 1979)
Like the delightful voice-over that opens the film, Woody Allen’s Manhattan
is about the search for a personal voice and integrity amidst the
complexities of modern life. The story of the film is deceptively simple and
seems to merely follow the lives, loves, and neuroses of a group of New York
urbanites. But shot in arresting black and white and told to the music of
George Gershwin, Manhattan is a veritable love song to New York City. It is
a romantic vision of the urban cacophony through which one must filter out
the illusions of autonomy and value in order to arrive at one’s own
individuality. In this film, New York is a barrier in the quest for personal
expression that must necessarily exist if the quest and its end are to be
August 09: Flirt (Hal Hartley, 1993)
August 16: Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
August 23: Bulaklak ng Maynila (Joel Lamangan, 1999)
August 30: Fallen Angels (Wong Kar-Wai, 1995)
SEPTEMBER: Reinventing the Bard
September 06: Looking for Richard (Al Pacino, 1996)
September 13: Titus (Julie Taymor, 1999)
September 20: Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)
September 27: Hamlet (Michael Almereyda, 2000)
Please see the Kino promotional materials posted around campus for details
on the other films.
For subscription to the Kino Group Bulletin, an email list for discussions
and announcements, please send email to
kinoscreenings-subscribe at yahoogroups.com, or see
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kinoscreenings for more details.
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