“Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.” – Woody Allen
Controversial American filmmaker Woody Allen has been the subject of allegations of sexual abuse but his works continue to be counted among the best of New Hollywood. In a career that spans six decades, Allen’s filmography includes brilliant works like Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters. He has multiple Academy Award nominations to his name as well as four wins, including one for Best Director.
While speaking about his directorial style with special focus on his 1992 film Husbands and Wives, Allen said, “I thought that, since the film’s about such neurotic people, and such neurotic relationships, a neurotic style would be appropriate. So I thought I would obey none of the filmmaking rules. I wouldn’t care if people were facing the same direction, if they crossed the 180 degree axis of symmetry, if things matched or didn’t match, cutting away whenever I wanted, etc. I decided to make the film as crudely, and as neurotically as the content of the film indicated.”
He also commented on the stylistic changes happening in American filmmaking, “Yes, a European style has become absorbed by American directors. It’s become part of the world’s vocabulary of filmmaking. [European filmmakers] are always so far in advance of Americans. While we were doing silly, brainless Hollywood movies made using formulas for money, Europeans were making grown-up films. But over the years, serious American directors have absorbed the European style, and now even Asian influences, like Kurosawa, or surreal influences, like [Luis Buñuel.] Now it’s an almost universal style.”
While negative and worrying details continue to circulate around Allen’s personal life, his prominent contribution to modern cinema remains one etched into Hollywood history and sits atop the record books in a number of cinematic achievements. While comparisons between directors are commonplace within the film industry, the link between Woody Allen and the brilliant Martin Scorsese is not one that swings around too often… until now.
A fan has superimposed Allen’s trademark neurotic rambling on an iconic scene from Martin Scorsese’s 1976 masterpiece Taxi Driver. If you have ever wondered what Travis Bickle would sound like if the character was under Woody Allen’s treatment, look no further.
The film, depicting the story of a lonely veteran working as a taxi driver played by Robert De Niro, explores the raw subject of mental health as the driver descends into insanity. The taxi driver, Travis Bickle, takes on the job in an attempt to battle his depression and chronic insomnia. What ensues is an infatuation with a campaign volunteer for presidential candidate Charles Palantine and, ultimately, the plot to assassinate the candidate.
“Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things,” director Scorsese once said when discussing the film. “They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime, we need to keep them alive,” he continued.
The picture was released to critical and commercial acclaim and, as the popularity grew, Taxi Driver was nominated for four Academy Awards which included Best Picture, Best Actor for Robert De Niro and Best Supporting Actress for Jodie Foster.
For now though, let’s explore how things could have turned out very differently in a parallel universe.