I was looking up for quotable quotes from Annie Hall and ended up reading half the script of the movie. This would give you some idea of the strength of a tight script with very little happening in the story. Though majority of dialogues are, what you may call ‘blabbering’. I used to label some of my posts ‘blabber’ and stopped doing it. I thought it was demeaning to what I wanted to say.
But then, when I heard Woody Allen ‘blabber’, I realized how someone can make sense out of nonsense, and not in a Hindi film way. I say this because the movies we make in Bollywood in the name of entertainment and write in brackets (you should enjoy it if you leave your brains at home.) feel like a joke. And mind you, they take themselves too seriously.
First Woody Allen movie fact I have noticed is, his movies don’t take themselves seriously. Annie Hall doesn’t for sure. But they do make a serious point, sometimes.
Imagine this first scene, Alvy Singer – the male protagonist is talking to the camera, telling us he shouldn’t have broken up with Annie and lapses into telling us his life story. As a kid he was depressed because he read somewhere ‘The universe is expanding.’ He stops studying as the universe is bound to break apart.
The first viewing of Annie Hall could surely have you in a ROFWL state, but at the same time they make you want to pat yourself for getting those funny moments.
His characters do not take life with a pinch of salt, and in return, his movie ends up giving us that pinch of salt as an after effect of the film.
Alvy is a quirky (yeah, thatz my favourite word these days) comedian and Annie is almost his female counterpart. The movie is more like study of human nature and relationships than just about their particular relationship.
My personal favourite moment between the two is when they’re walking, and Alvy asks Annie if he is her first serious love. Then watch both of them pass through Annie’s predictable past. Annie is every girl, and she is extra special, just like every girl. I wonder how Diane Keaton managed an Oscar win when it is Alvy, doing the talking. A lot of it at that.
Here is a sample of Annie and Alvy’s conversations:
Alvy Singer: Oh stop it, you’re having an affair with your college professor, that jerk that teaches that incredible crap course, Contemporary Crisis in Western Man…
Annie Hall: Existential Motifs in Russian Literature. You’re really close.
Alvy Singer: What’s the difference? It’s all mental masturbation.
Alvy Singer: Don’t you see the rest of the country looks upon New York like we’re left-wing, communist, Jewish, homosexual pornographers? I think of us that way sometimes and I live here.
or for that matter every other conversation in the movie. I’m not surprised that Annie Hall simply defeated American legend Star Wars at Oscars. But then Woody Allen doesn’t believe in Awards.
This is what Alvy has to say about awards: “What’s with all these awards? They’re always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.“
The movie has style, and that is not only cinematic. You can’t help but notice all those experimental things Keaton is wearing. I don’t want to go on and on ranting about how Alvy’s surname is ‘Singer’ and Annie’s ‘Hall’ and all that. It is undoubtedly, one of Allen’s best creation and a great lesson in history of cinema.