Sat. Apr 4th, 2020

“He mistreated his children psychologically and bodily”

During the second half of Annie Hall There is an absolutely memorable scene built on the surprise, the unexpected, the sudden … in short, everything that is outside the frame, starring Alvy Singer, or what is the same, another one of so many interpretive alter ego that the filmmaker camouflages in his false character films to project in a circular and repetitive way – although not for that reason he ceases to be masterful – psychological dissections of himself.

The couple formed by Annie and Alvy are at a party held at a friend’s house and in the middle of a previous offer of cocaine (the historical context of the seventies pushed the reflection of experimentation with this type of substance), the Jew blurts out : “I don’t want to stuff my nose with white powder”, stops, after a couple of minutes, giving in: “It sure is fun. The hincas did it. They kept laughing” After a risky attempt to take a small amount into the nostrils, a shock occurs. Alvy sneezes histrionically into the compact, generating a great cloud of suspended snow, staining the face of the companion next door and ruining the promising revelry.

In the same way that the episode contains all the characteristic ingredients of things that are not expected – and therefore they are more amazing and ironic and arouse a greater attraction – Woody Allen has given a flywheel, has written a script twist on the project of his life, has led to his particular sneeze. After changing the editorial as a result of the recent controversy generated, threats and pressure by more than 70 Hachette Book Group workers through, the director of “The Purple Rose of Cairo” he has finally published “About nothing”.

Not without controversy, the previous editorial’s refusal to put the memoirs for sale in the United States on April 7 was preceded by barriers that crossed the professional since Hachette had published some works by the journalist Ronan Farrow, son of Mia Farrow and Allen himself, who managed to get a Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the abuse of producer Harvey Weinstein in the Hollywood industry and making an explicit statement of the privileges and harmful liberties that had acquired “non gratas” personalities like their father. Ronan’s outrage was such that minutes after the news was released, he did not hesitate to announce through his social networks the final break with the French publisher.

Through his particular use of irony, Allen adds in the book that Hachette had promised to publish “About nothing” despite being “A toxic outcast and a threat to society”. All that slightly hopeful prior confidence was of no use as “when the antiretroviral attack came, they carefully reevaluated their position” and “threw the book away like it was a piece of Xenon 135.” But faced with a situation that Stephen King himself was responsible for calling a “violation of freedom of expression” at the time, Arcade Publishing, a prolific, diverse and sometimes provocative independent publisher with a varied catalog of books including names like Samuel Beckett and Octavio Paz to JFK conspiracy theorist Jim Garrison and Alan Dershowitz, the attorney, commentator and frequent advocate of President Donald Trump, took the reins and yesterday launched the book without prior notice, leaving both diehard fans and punctual misandries with their mouths open.

The company’s editor, Jeannette Seaver, has assured through a statement collected by some media that “at this strange moment, when the truth is too often dismissed as” fake news “, we, as editors, prefer to give voice to a respected artist, instead of bowing to those determined to silence him. ”With half the world concerned about the spread of the coronavirus and the other half desperate to manage the weeks of confinement with sanity, the 400 pages that make up the filmmaker’s memoirs they arrive at a moment of seclusion in which reading constitutes an effective balm against the dilation of time.

The first chapters of “About nothing” in which Allen details the memories of his education, his relationship with Diane Keaton, the dimension of the love he feels for New York City or the attempts of nostalgia and anguish that he so accurately reflects in films such as “Hannah and her sisters” (and that trembling “nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands”), “Radio days”, Annie Hall or “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, do not dispense with humor, nor with satire: “I cannot deny that in my poetic fantasies, being an artist whose work is not seen in his own country and is forced, due to injustice, to have his audience in abroad. Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce. I see myself standing between them defiantly. At that point, my wife wakes me up and says, “You’re snoring.”

It is the cumbersome part of his relationship and subsequent break with Mia Farrow that darkens the narration and brutalizes the tone. Remembering her relationship with Farrow and defending herself from allegations of abuse of his daughter Dylan, -a dispute that for many has come to define his public image in recent years-, that of Brooklyn is firm: “I never put a finger on Dylan, I never did anything that could be misinterpreted as abusing her; It was a total fabrication from start to finish, ”he says. In one of the key descriptions the Associated Press collects of the day he allegedly sexually abused Dylan, Allen acknowledges briefly placing his head on his 7-year-old daughter’s lap, but emphatically adds: “I certainly didn’t do anything inappropriate to him. . I was in a room full of people watching television in the middle of the afternoon. “

The intensity of a marriage lasted more than a decade in which the beginnings ended up being much more promising than the murky reality of the process and the complicated end. Although she remembers happy moments with Mia, a “very, very beautiful” actress who came from a family “plagued by extremely sinister behavior” the director writes that Farrow cleverly knew and strategized to cope through a great capacity for interpretation and to hide his deep defects and personality disorders when they met.

She claims that she mistakenly thought Farrow was a “beautiful and fragile supermom whose idea of ​​progress was staying home and getting married. She wasn’t demanding, she was better informed than I was, she was more educated, appropriately libidinous, charming to my friends and, best of all, she lived directly across from Central Park, so there was a lot of savings on air travel, ” But in fact, she was deeply disturbed and “psychologically and bodily” mistreated her children and turned them into “true submissives”. A theory endorsed by their adoptive son Moses, who in 2018 published an extensive letter detailing the details of a life that little or nothing resembled that reported by Ronan and Dylan.

With the appearance of Ronan (the only biological child of both born in 1987) their relationship “took an even darker quantum leap.” This significant change is associated by Allen to surreal episodes in which Mia “expropriated” her room to breastfeed him. The director accuses the actress of sleeping naked with Ronan until the little boy reached the age of 11. Holding on to a home-made acidity, he writes: “I don’t know what anthropologists would say about that, but I can imagine what the boys in the billiard room would say.”

The preparation of these reports has a clear recipient. His wife Soon-Yi Previn, who was the adoptive daughter of his ex-wife. “For Soon-Yi, the best. I had her eating from my hand and then I noticed that my arm was missing, ”reads the dedication of this catalyst written from the memory of one of the best filmmakers in history. In Spain it seems that at the moment there has been no unexpected cancellation or sudden moral veto in the face of the publication planned by Alianza Editorial for May 21. It will be then when the version of the vilified voice of Hollywod finds its space of freedom in Spanish. When the guy ugly enough and short enough to succeed on his own, fully give the public the corners of his life. With skirting board included.


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