Showing posts with label 'Blue Jasmie'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'Blue Jasmie'. Show all posts

Thursday, February 13, 2014


The other night, I watched the movie, Blue Jasmine, which was highly recommended to me by several people. If I ever knew, I'd forgotten the movie was written and directed by Woody Allen. Though the film was very good, I can't say I enjoyed watching, because the story was emotionally wrenching. Cate Blanchett was outstanding, and the movie included very fine acting by others in the cast.  The choice of music in the soundtrack is excellent, as is usual for Woody Allen's movies, which, for me, adds a great deal to my enjoyment.

Even if I'd known the movie, an homage to Tennessee Williams's Streetcar Named Desire, was written and directed by Allen, I'd forgotten the lurid details of the custody trial after Mia Farrow and Allen separated.  After I finished watching, I went online and happened to see the link to Dylan Farrow's open letter in the NYT. After reading it, I felt sick. Later, I read the transcript of the custody ruling.

The world of celebrity so often seems in a different universe. The family of Mia Farrow and Allen, unusual though it may have been, was a family, and Allen seemed to have little knowledge or skill in parenting and no concept of proper boundaries within a family. His view that adopted children are not "real" children is seriously out of whack. 

A few months earlier, I watched  Midnight in Paris and enjoyed it very much. Allen is immensely talented, but he's also creepy, at best, and a pedophile, at worst, but I confess that I'd rather have seen the two films than not.  The only firm conclusion I've reached is that I do not believe Dylan Farrow is lying.

Is it possible to separate the art from the artist?  I ask because I struggle with the question.  What do we make of other gifted artists such as Lewis Carroll and his relationship to Alice Liddell? His photographs of Alice would quite likely be considered child pornography today.  I suppose I will know when the next Allen movie comes out whether I'll choose to watch or not. I'm not crazy about all of his films. Some I just don't get, plus, in others, I sense a misogynistic undercurrent that makes me uneasy.

Then there's Alfred Hitchcock, who apparently had a conventional private life, but who displayed a propensity for putting beautiful women, especially blonds, in dangerous and frightening situations.  Even as I enjoyed the chills and thrills, Hitchcock's treatment of the women seemed rather creepily sadistic to me.

After I'd written the words above, I read , which sheds more light on child abuse and memories and leads me to consider Dylan Farrow's account even more credible. Zoe was abused by a family member when she was a very young girl.  She's writing a book about her experience and has done quite a bit of research on the subject.
People who do like, or love, Allen’s work often argue that we should separate the art from the artist. I don’t disagree; especially if we are able to do the reverse, and separate the artist from the art, not grant him any greater benefit of the doubt than we would another human. But we have to acknowledge that this is difficult, just as it’s difficult for us to recognize warning signs or baldly stated declarations of inappropriate behavior when they concern someone we know, trust, love, admire, or depend on to pay the bills and keep things running smoothly. If we like the art, if we like the love or the family unit or the school community or just generally the way things are, we can feel guilty if the person at the center of it has committed a heinous crime.
Research also shows that children are not nearly so suggestible on the topic of sex abuse as previously believed, especially school-aged children. In the past 40 years, children’s testimony has gone from being inadmissible in a court of law to being not only allowed as evidence but sometimes used as the sole evidence in cases involving sex abuse, which is notoriously difficult to prove (physical proof is rarely present even in cases of vaginal penetration).