In discussions that begin in 1971 and end in 2009, Allen talks about every facet of moviemaking through the prism of his own work as well as the larger world of film, and in so doing reveals an artist’s development over the course of his career. He speaks about his influences and about the genesis of his ideas; about writing, casting, acting, shooting, directing, editing, and scoring—and throughout shows himself to be thoughtful, honest, self-deprecating, always witty, and often hilarious.
From Publishers Weekly
Woody Allen biographer Lax has been conversing with the elusive, beloved film director for 36 years, and here’s the proof: transcripts of their detailed shop talk distilled into chapters covering seven elements of filmmaking―writing, casting, shooting, etc.―and Allen’s career as a whole. Despite a reputation for being odd and unapproachable, the man revealed in these dialogues is likable, forthcoming and even humble: “It’s just not in me to make a great film; I don’t have the depth of vision to do it.” Fans, of course, will want to argue otherwise, but they’ll be too absorbed by this fascinating, decades-long discussion to register the grievance. From the tremendous stable of actors Allen has directed―especially former muses Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow-to the deceptively intriguing details of editing Another
Woman, Lax’s interviews are penetrating but far from formal, giving readers the unique opportunity to hear Allen’s thoughts on projects-in-progress (everything from Bananas to Match Point) and to join him on location. Fans will find a trove of Woody -on-Woody insight (heavy on second-guessing, light on personal details), and there’s much advice for the aspiring artist: “The key is to work, enjoy the process, don’t read about yourself…and keep your nose to the grindstone.” Even casual fans will appreciate this work; with a handy index for tracking down favorite films and something interesting on nearly every page, it’s a perfectly browsable volume.
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From The Los Angeles Times
“Compiled over thirty-six years of interviews, conversations, and experiences one could only glean from gaining Allen’s confidence and respect, Conversations is essential reading for aspiring filmmakers and those who wish to eventually put finger to keyboard in hopes of telling a story, but it is no less intriguing for simple cinephiles.”
From The News & Observer
“Remarkable . . . fresh with an immediacy often missing in a retrospective.”
“Absorbing . . . must reading for Allen admirers and fans of contemporary cinema . . . . Endlessly fascinating self-exposure by a controversial, defiantly prickly artist.”