Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear Woody Allen

Dear Woody Allen:

It has been some time now since Dylan Farrow has come out with her open letter. The letter has been haunting me for the past few days. On one hand I am (note the tense) a diehard fan of your work; on the other hand I absolutely loathe you for what you had done to Dylan.

I have watched each and every movie (literally) you have directed and/or written and/or acted in (barring, of course, Fading Gigolo: I have still not managed to obtain a copy) and have watched as many documentaries on you as I could. Additionally, I have read through your Complete Works at breakneck pace.

I am not the only one, either. Your career has been a long journey punctuated by awards and achievements. They have a life-size statue of you at Oviedo.

I was really never bothered when you had a relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. Why? Because
-          You and Mia Farrow never married;
-          You did not adopt Soon-Yi: she had been adopted by André Previn and Mia Farrow;
-          Soon-Yi was an adult when the consensual relationship happened.
For these reasons I could never bring myself to dislike you. It had seemed like Manhattan all over again, only in real life.

So I continued to remain a loyal fan: I know my Annie Hall back to front; I can almost recite that confession in the penultimate scene in Manhattan; I often laugh out loud over Love and Death while walking alone; I revisited Play it Again, Sam by watching it after Casablanca; I did get goosebumps while watching Midnight in Paris; and Zelig still impresses me as much as any other movie in history.

I have always believed that an artist should be judged by his work – which is why I have immense respect for the works of Klaus Kinski and Roman Polanski (what is it with those -skis?) but loathe them as personalities. I have not stopped watching their movies (and will not, either) but would certainly not want to know them in real life.

With Woody it has been different. He is not just a great director or screenplay-writer: he was a person I had looked up to and respected; whose sense of humour I admired and even envied; he was a person I forgave despite the fact that he was in a relationship with Diane Keaton (sigh!); but this is different:
-          Woody Allen had adopted Dylan himself; and
-          Dylan was seven when the incident had taken place.

My daughter is ten. No, I cannot like this person anymore.

This was a huge decision for me – whether to give up on Allen completely. Of course, there was no doubt whatsoever that I respected his work as much as I used to do (though I must admit that I have to suspect the reason for making Match Point and Crimes and Misdemeanours – the foundation of which were based on guilt).

Nicked from the internet, as usual
However, do I respect him anymore? Do I look up to him? Am I jealous of his abilities? What about those outstanding one-liners?

Once again, with Kinski and Polanski things have been different: I never cared for them as personalities; they have been only artists to me, and continue to remain that way.

Not with Woody: he had made me laugh and pensive at the same time in a way nobody has been able to; I was Alvy Singer, I was Emmet Ray, I was Sid Waterman, I was Gil, I was Isaac, I was Boris, and I was Kleimnan. It was not as if I could relate to them: I was them.

My heart had a special corner for you, Woody Allen.

That has changed.

Now I am not them: I have distanced myself from them. I used to relate to them. Not that it matters to you, but I feel betrayed, Woody Allen.

You should not have done this to me.

This is simply not done.

32 comments:

  1. have no words. don't know what to say ! still admire his body of work and love some of his movies but.. can't forgive him if this allegations are true.

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  2. Dear Abhishek, have you read this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast.html

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    1. Indeed I have. But somehow Dylan has struck a cord. Emotions don't usually work on me - especially when it comes to my heroes. But this one did.

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    2. Well no one is saying that her emotions are wrong. But manipulated by a mother over a long time can completely distort truth. You understand that if there is something worse than the allegations by her on Woody it is that the allegations are not true ! That implies that this girl has been knowingly psychologically tortured by her mother.

      The question is not whether one should consider Woody's work in spite of his crime. There is an even more primary question of whether Woody committed a crime at all. Abuse by fathers/father-figures generally leave good psychological evidence, but psychologists from Yale did not find any evidence that Dylan was abused ! Even two nannies provided evidence she was likely not abused.

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    3. True, no evidence has still been found about Dylan's abuse. However, if Woody gets a clean-chit there will be a full apology on this blog. Of course, it will nothing to him, but the same holds for this post.

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    4. But in the absence of any judicial process there is no question of a clean chit. No one, not even Dylan, has approached to law. Actually he already got a judicial clean chit. So most possibly he cannot be judged for the same crime again.

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    5. I will still wait for the official verdict.

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  3. I still don't see what the awards (which celebrated his work) have to do with what kind of a person Woody Allen was. Back home, Shiney Ahuja went to jail for doing what he did, but I liked his work in 'Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi' and his reputation didn't change that fact! On a different note, I think Mia Farrow should have gone ahead with Allen's prosecution in court - that could at least have meant 'some' sort of satisfaction for Dylan!

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    1. Completely agree with you, Deeptiman. The awards have nothing to do with this. However, it's just that I felt betrayed: I have hero-worshipped him for ages now.

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    2. But again, how do we know which side is speaking the truth? And if it indeed turns out to only be false allegations against Woody Allen, one may be led to doubt his/her faith upon the director on the first place! Think about it?
      Its like that Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep movie 'DOUBT'.

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    3. If he is innocent then there will be a post on this blog with full apology.

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  4. To me, this is the capstone of this blog, "Not that it matters to you, but I feel betrayed, Woody Allen". I am sure a lot of people feel this way. Then again, you felt one with the character, the way I read it, and the character is not necessarily Woody Allen, despite the pesona of the actor, don't you think?

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    1. No, I felt with Woody Allen. I thought I had known the person behind the actor and the director and the writer. Or I thought I had.

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  5. 'Dear' Woody Allen? *DEAR*???

    Perhaps you should have started this post with *SICK*, *DISGUSTING*, *RAGE-INDUCING*,*CONSCIENCE-DEAD*, *@#&%!!* Woody Allen. And not just him, but even us as a society that allows him and other like him the leeway to get away with such acts. He has this perverted sense of power and control that he used to abuse innocence, and the confidence that he will get away by manipulatign the industry and his fan-base, who will forgive and make place for anyone who is smart and slick enough to cover up the tracks of his crime. A brilliant, dangerous mind. He is *very scary*, to say the least.

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    1. Mlvk, 'dear' a figure of speech that I typically use while starting a letter, especially to strangers.

      It is something like "Oh God!" Though I am an atheist I do not use "Oh Logic!" to describe my suprise.

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  6. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/27/the-woody-allen-allegations-not-so-fast.html

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    1. Read this. Farrow's allegations still sound too real.

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    1. It is not your fault that you had shared the news with me, Diptee. I would have come across it anyway.

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  8. Shocked to say the least! Woody Allen movies used to make me smile when I was depressed. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to watch any of his movies without disgust.

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    1. I know what you mean. I know exactly what you mean.

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  9. Too aware of the brain behind those brilliant movies and the fact that the same brain plotted the disgusting act. Sorry Ovshake.

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  10. Hemmingway was married multiple times and was also a murderer...he committed suicide.
    So there,every genius is slightly cuckoo.

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    Replies
    1. You have produced a sample size of one; and it's Hemingway. One M.

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  11. Four phases of fighting back

    Ignore

    If somebody tries to approach or harass you, your first mechanism of defence should be to absolutely ignore them.

    Block

    If they persist in bothering you, block them on the relevant social media website/Messenger that you are using. Visit social media Safety Centres to learn how to block users and change settings to control who can contact you. For instance, Facebook now has a convenient shortcut that helps you exactly filter your privacy settings.

    Report

    If you feel that the matter has gone out of your hands, don’t hesitate to speak to an elder sibling, parent, or teacher! But be sure to capture evidence of the bullying by taking a screenshot. The method is different for various computers but any Windows PC will generate this using Alt and PrtScr (Print Screen) at the same time.

    Help is always round the corner but it is your responsibility to seek it. Help can even be sought from the police who have special methods to track wrongdoers and punish them.

    Share

    Spread the word about spammers/ bullies to your friends so that they can also avoid the trauma.

    Suffering silently is almost as bad as committing the crime. Stand up and assert yourself in your quest for safe online citizenship!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the advice. I will definitely keep these in mind.

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  12. Whoever coined the term 'Good' morning, was probably an optimist, not a realist.

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  13. Just nit picking on the format of the post.

    - You start off the post as a personal letter, with a salutation, but you don't end it with a valediction or a complimentary close. There is "no closure".
    - In the middle of the letter to him, you mention the following "With Woody it has been different." "He is not just a great director or screenplay-write .." Why are you referring to him in the third person in a direct letter to him?


    Now to the moot point of the post. Whether Allen has been proved beyond doubt to be the perpetrator of the crime he was accused of. The Daily Beast article written by Robert Weide, the one some commentators have referred to, actually came out before Dylan Farrow's open letter in the NYT. The footnote of the article says this => Editor's note: Subsequent to publishing the above piece, an open letter from Dylan Farrow appeared in Nicholas Kristof’s column in the New York Times. When asked for comment, Weide sent this reply: “This continues to be a very sad story from every angle. I can only say I found nothing in Dylan’s letter that hasn’t previously been alleged in the two previous Vanity Fair articles, which I’ve already addressed. I also see nothing that contradicts what I wrote for The Daily Beast. If I wrote it today, it would be exactly the same piece. As I’ve already stated in my article, I hope she finds closure, and I sincerely wish her all the happiness and peace she’s been looking for."

    After 20 years, and with the sort of coverage this has garnered, the "truth", whatever that is, is not going to come out. Let's accept that. We can take sides based on our evaluation of the facts, and our own moral compass. That's it. These are just opinions nothing more. The Daily Beast article was perhaps one of the most balanced piece of journalism, or editorial, that I have ever read. There is but one victim in this whole sordid drama: Dylan Farrow. If Allen is actually the culprit (again, detailed investigation has proved him innocent. Not only innocent, he was never charged in the first place), good for the Farrow family for standing behind the story. If Mia Farrow actually manipulated the whole gig, then faith in humanity again takes hit.

    Being a father to a daughter, I understand where you are coming from. But this is again just your opinion. And no, "If he is innocent then there will be a post on this blog with full apology." doesn't hold because there is no way to prove, or dis-prove, Allen's "innocence" when there is no investigation going on and Allen hardly cares of what the world thinks of him.

    Jeez that turned out to be much longer than I had in mind when I started typing!

    ~ Krishanu

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    Replies
    1. I can see what you mean. Maybe I am just being wrong. Maybe I will feel differently once something comes out of this.

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