On Friday 6th at 5pm we have our first Woody Allen film LOVE AND DEATH (1h18mins).
This comedy film is a satire on Russian literature starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton as Boris and Sonja, Russians living during the Napoleonic Era who engage in mock-serious philosophical debates. Allen considered it the funniest film he had made up until that point.
At the 25th Berlin International Film Festival, the film won the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution
When Napoleon invades Austria during the Napoleonic Wars, Boris Grushenko, a coward and pacifist scholar, is forced to enlist in the Russian army. Desperate and disappointed after hearing the news that Sonja, his cousin twice removed, is to wed a herring merchant, he inadvertently becomes a war hero. Boris returns and marries the recently widowed Sonja, who does not want to marry him, but promises him that she will, in order to make him happy for one night, when she thinks that he is about to be killed in a duel. To her surprise and disappointment, he survives the duel. Their marriage is filled with philosophical debates but no money. Their life together is interrupted when Napoleon invades the Russian Empire. Boris wants to flee but his wife, angered that the invasion will interfere with their plans to start a family that year, conceives a plot to assassinate Napoleon at his headquarters in Moscow. Boris and Sonja debate the matter with some degree of philosophical doublespeak, and Boris reluctantly goes along with it. They fail to kill Napoleon and Sonja escapes arrest while Boris is executed, despite being told by a vision that he will be pardoned. Boris' ghost bids goodbye to Sonja and the audience before dancing away with Death.
The film has 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus: "Woody Allen plunks his neurotic persona into a Tolstoy pastiche and yields one of his funniest films, brimming with slapstick ingenuity and a literary inquiry into subjects as momentous as Love and Death"
‘’ One of Woody Allen's most entertaining and amusing comedies
Woody Allen films fall into different categories-his early films verge on slapstick while still being bitingly satirical while his later works generally fall into one of two categories: contemporary social satire or nostalgic period pieces, generally set in the 1930s or 1940s. Love and Death is probably the most cerebral of the slapstick films and what I suspect a collaboration between Woody Allen, Ingmar Bergman and the Marx Brothers would have looked like had one ever taken place. Sight gags abound along with the philosophical discussions Woody Allen films have as a matter of course. It's a hilarious film that spoofs Bergman, the military, patriotism and, of course, love and death. Most highly recommended.’’ IMDb reviewer
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