Wednesday, 13 December 2006


USA: Woody Allen, 1987

Having worked my way through about two thirds of Woody Allen's prodigious body of work I finally sat down this evening to watch September. Renown for his penchant for re-shoots and his dissatisfaction with the finished product of his own films (Allen still maintains Manhattan should never have seen the light of day?!), Allen actually made September twice. Unhappy with the pacing of his original cut Allen recalled the cast and crew only to find several key actors tied to other projects. One man's pretension is another's genius. In any case, the end result is one of the most tightly structured and superbly performed chamber pieces this viewer has seen in a long time.

Very much a theatrical play put on celluloid September charts the yearnings, reflections and conflicts of a small group of family and friends as they see out the summer at a cottage in Vermont. Initially, offering refuge the cottage provides the intimate space needed for the diverse troupe to recuperate from the stresses and traumas of their individual lives. As is often the case in stories such as this the action is set over a period of a couple of days as the summer draws to an end and revelations inevitably bubble to the surface.

If you only enjoy Woody Allen the comedian then September isn't going to be for you. Allen's often-bold use of cinematic structure and his masterful repertoire of humorous quips are dispensed in favour of a much smaller canvas upon which a static but far deeper glare into the realism of our frailty is positioned.

Basically, if like me you found Allen's often criticised "serious" dramas such as Interiors and Another Woman intelligent and compelling you will find much to savour in this rich and brooding exploration of human emotions. Give it a try.

IMDB reference