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The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen$
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Peter J. Bailey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167190

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167190.001.0001

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In the Stardust of a Song

In the Stardust of a Song

Stardust Memories

Chapter:
(p.87) 7 In the Stardust of a Song
Source:
The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen
Author(s):

Peter J. Bailey

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813167190.003.0007

The book treats Stardust Memories as a sort of Rosetta stone of Allen’s filmography, because this autobiographical text incorporates so many thematic elements recurring in his oeuvre. Protagonist Sandy Bates allows Allen to dramatize his ambivalence about producing comic films when his own emotional weather tends toward drama, his conviction that art accomplishes nothing, and his ambiguous feelings toward his own celebrity. These issues get complicated in Stardust Memories as the recurrent shifts from Sandy Bates’s life to his films begin blurring, landing the viewer in the closing scene perplexed about whether s/he is watching the actresses in Bates’s film or in Allen’s discussing Bates’s/Allen’s kissing techniques and the effectiveness of his movie. Through this entangling of art and life, the influence of is pervasive in Stardust Memories, but the movie is very much Allen’s own in its projection of his very personal ambivalences about the film art he obsessively produces. In this film, “the movie medium itself is implicated in the confusions that make answering ultimate existential questions so impossible.”

Keywords:   jazz heaven, thanatophobic, Ozymandias melancholia, self-reflexive ironies, Fellini’s 8½, magic, Louis Armstrong, “Stardust”, Og, the extra-terrestrial

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