Everything Passes: An Appreciation for Woody Allen’s Radio Days

Radio Days - Seth Green
So many precious memories go to waste. Not everyone is able to get their story told. Not everyone is interested in writing their memoirs. And though not everyone lives akin to the greats of history, these memories are precious nonetheless because when these people pass on, the worlds they lived in will pass on, too.

And the less information we have about the world before us, the less we will understand about the past. And the less we understand about the past, the less we will understand about ourselves.
Radio Days - Mia Farrow

“Radio Days,” one of Woody Allen’s lesser known and often forgotten work, is a slightly autobiographical film about the preciousness and fragility of memories. It’s unlike most of his other films in that it doesn’t revolve around the neurotic follies of romantic relationships. There’s no real story. It’s just the scrambled reminiscence of the narrator Joe (Allen) as he recounts his youth from the late 1930s to the mid-1940s.

Thus, it’s filled with innocence – but with the little wickedness that comes with being a child. We are introduced to his bickering but ultimately loving family, who speak to each other in Allen’s delicious misanthropic wit. It’s a wacky slice of life. It’s a depiction of a time and place that has forever disappeared.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania radio days woody allen film

A strange time when people weren’t glued to their LCD screens but received their entertainment through the radio and in each other’s company. It might be a little romanticized, as the narrator states, but he can’t help that. This is just how he remembers it.
"Dies de ràdio" o "Radio days" (1987) amb Mia Farrow com a predilecta d'Allen.
It’s about the radio stories he heard in that time. The characters that crept in his imagination. Time scrambles our memories, so Joe isn’t entirely sure whether some radio stories ended this way or that; in one instance of the film, he even depicts several endings. Families would huddle amongst each other listening to the radio.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania radio days woody allen

In the film’s most touching moments, they would even cry with each other when the radio entailed some particularly sad news. Now we are bombarded with sad news and we carry on anyway.

Things were so much simpler then. Not necessarily better but simpler. But just like the worlds before it, eventually it had to disappear. We can find remnants of this world in our museums and in history books, and as long as people who lived in those old worlds are still alive, we can hear about them.
Radio Days, 1987, Woody Allen

But not many people who lived in those radio days are left. As the Masked Avenger (Wallace Shawn), the voice of a popular radio show says, “After enough time, everything passes. I don’t care how big we are or how important are our lives.” And as time passes, we wonder what it’s all about – if it was even about anything. And all of those voices, no matter how important they were to us, will grow dimmer and dimmer as more time passes.
Radio Days - Tony Roberts - Mia Farrow
But as long we have films like “Radio Days,” these voices live on. It might not be their actual voices and Allen’s memories might not be entirely accurate (by his own admission) but it’s the best we have.
And I’m sure that these forgotten ghosts of Radio Days will be delighted, knowing that the next generation and the generations after that, will remember them like this.
Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania radio days woody allen


Emotions Are All We Have: an Appreciation for Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania Paolo Sorrentino
Director Paolo Sorrentino enjoying a cigar. 

In one of the many beautiful scenes of Paolo Sorrentino’s masterful Youth, Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) is instructing his minions of screenwriters on the different perception of youth and old age. Standing atop a balcony of a luscious hotel in the Swiss Alps, Mick asks one of the screenwriters to look through panoramic binoculars. The screenwriter sees a mountain and from the binoculars perspective, it seems to be nearby.
”This is what you see when you’re young,” Mick says, ”everything seems really close. That’s the future.”
He turns her binoculars around and now, from her perspective, everything seems far away. ”That’s what you see when you’re old,” Mick says, ”everything seems really far away. That’s the past.”

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania youth paolo sorrentino escort
Mick (Harvey Keitel) and his minions of screenwriters.

The central characters of Youth are both living in the past while confronting the darkness of the future. A renowned composer Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is depressed because he lost his musical and romantic partner. Mick, a filmmaker is working on what he deems to be his testimonial film. The daughter and assistant of Fred, Lena (Rachel Weisz), is struggling with her divorce. A young actor Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) fears that he will never be taken seriously as an actor and will always be remembered as the guy who once played a Robot.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania youth paolo sorrentino paul dano
Jimmy (Paul Dano) observing the beautiful world around him. 

One might accuse this film as being slightly elitist since all of these characters struggle with these existential quarries in a five-star hotel in the Swiss alps. Through the beautiful cinematography by Luca Bigazzi we witness scene after scene of affluence: fancy dining, beautiful swimming pools, nightly entertainments. But director Sorrentino also satirizes excessive wealth and the emptiness that comes with it. Even by living in paradise, people don’t know what to do themselves and fail to appreciate each other. Lena’s estranged husband divorces her for some shallow pop-star- his stated reason is because she is apparently great in bed. Both Mick and Fred know that they haven’t always been kind and loyal to their loves ones. Even with all their wisdom and their place in high-society, they must deal with the most ordinary of regrets.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania youth paolo sorrentino harvey keitel
Fred (Michael Caine) in arguably Youth’s saddest scene.

The film switches attention from the central characters to the minor characters; such as a levitating Buddhist-monk, an ex-overweight soccer player, a quiet couple, a masseuse or a despondent young escort. We’re thrust right in the middle or at the end of their story, during the moment of some great epiphany and emotional deliverance. There’s a universe of suffering and contemplation out there. Each individual life is a beautiful individual story but we can’t know them all. There’s just many stories out there and not enough writers.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania youth movie luna zimic mijovic
The insightful masseuse (Luna Zimic Mijovic) living in the moment. 

One moment characters may have deeply profound philosophical conversations while the next we are treated with something comically silly. Sometimes scenes flash by while other scenes take their beautiful sweet time. One scene might have beautiful orchestral music while the next may have some modern pop-song. Sorrentino, as the mark of a true artist, does what he wants and doesn’t heed any of the traditional narrative rules. He would do this again in HBOs episodic The Young Pope and in both cases, the result has been something truly special.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania youth  rachel weisz
Lena (Rachel Weisz) learning to move on after her painful divorce. 

The future seems to coming after us with rapid speed while the past seems to be running away from us, and we try to catch up with one and try to outrun the other, but it’s impossible. If we move in the wrong direction, The only escape is to live in the present.

"You say that emotions are overrated, but that's is bullshit. Emotions is all what we've got."
Fred seeing clearly, if only for a moment. 


The Big Whopper

”There’s nothing special inside me. We need to learn this the hard way. The ones who learn it the easy way have even less value. I don’t care for the lucky ones. Being lucky makes you even less special. Being oppressed, whether from internal or external forces, makes you special. It’s adversity that gives us grit. The lucky ones have no bones. They crumble when it all comes crashing down. But us, the unlucky, the supremely fucked, we will stand amidst the rubble, smiling, despite having lost everything. We laugh when they tell us fairy tales; God, country, the love that conquers all. It’s all an excuse, a great whopper to make us feel special. And I used to think I was so special, let me tell you. I used to think that my soul was on the verge of something great transcendental plain. I would reach greatness, I used needed time, I just needed to fight for it. I imagined the place I would live, I would imagine my kingdom.
Well here it is, this is as good as it’s going to get. You came looking for me and hoped to find answers, hoped to find a happy ending for your story. You hoped to form a bond, to kindle an unrequited love. You hoped to find a home. I’m pleased to say you found it. This is your home, this is all there is. And when the forces of the nature come crashing down, when everything falls apart, this home too, will be destroyed. It’s all part of growing up. I’m just telling you this because I love you. Don’t ever say I didn’t warn you.”

Picture taken in Katowice, Poland

The First Rascal

For Monika

”We always talked about having one, but we needed to wait. We first had to finish our studies, then find a job and then start saving. Every month we would see each other. Sometimes a weekend, sometimes a week. It hasn’t been easy to tell you the truth. We waited a long time before this life could start. There was a lot of ‘see you soon,’ and ‘miss you already.’
There’s no secret to this. You just have to be committed, to know what you want. I wanted nothing more in life than to be with her. I’m the luckiest man on earth because she felt the same.
And now we are here, finally. First we are going to start with this little rascal, then, when we are ready, we will create a few rascals of our own…”

Picture taken in Groningen, Holland.