So dipping into my Woody Allen box-set again, I watched Hannah and Her Sisters. I’d seen it once before, back in the VHS days not long after it came out, on a rental I think. Back at the time (the film came out in 1986) it was hugely well-regarded I believe and quite popular, but as tends to happen over time, it seems rather forgotten now. Or maybe Woody Allen films have always been niche and the period of their popularity inevitably transitory, I mean, Gods are transitory, just ask the Egyptians or those guys who wrote ‘Jedi’ on their census forms or maybe I’m way off the mark and Hannah is as well-regarded and loved as it ever was, maybe it’s just me and I’m wrong again, I don’t know, I don’t know what to think, I think maybe I should go see my analyst or pop some paracetamol and go lie down, do I look a funny colour to you? Do I sound like Allen himself here in one of his voice-over monologues? It must be infectious.
I think Allen must have learned a lot from making Hannah because I can see a lot of it in the (superior) Crimes and Misdemeanors: the multiple plot threads, the quirky and imperfect characters and their relationships, and the concious theorising over God and mortality and the meaning of our existence while someone cheats on someone else.
The cast are pretty great, mind. Barbara Hershey is so beautiful and fragile and glowing in this, and seeing Carrie Fisher again out of the blue (I’d forgotten she was in it) was a sudden and pleasant surprise – she looks so young and vivacious. And a shockingly young-looking (albeit middle-aged, admittedly) Michael Caine, what a perfectly weak-minded foolish bastard he was in this. Or maybe he was a smart opportunist calculating bastard. I’m not sure which. But he most certainly was a bastard.
The blu-ray looks pretty good (as you would expect from Arrow), maybe not as impressive as Crimes did the other night but it’s got a nice filmic look with plenty of grain.
Yeah I really quite enjoyed this. There’s something nice and relaxing (almost comforting) about settling into a Woody Allen film, particularly from this period, and just soaking up its small insular charms. Maybe Allen’s films have always been from some other world, but compared to today’s cinema, it’s a world farther and farther away.