Woody Allen is in Barcelona twice. On the one hand, the veteran New York filmmaker has come to present his new film, Luck, a thriller with touches of humor very much in the style of Match Point shot in French that will premiere next September 29 after its successful premiere at the Venice Festival. And today and tomorrow he inaugurates the 55th edition of the Voll-Damm Jazz Festival at the Tivoli Theater with two exclusive concerts with the New Orleans Jazz Band. They will be the only performances that he will do in Spain.
The director of films like Annie Hall and Blue Jasmine, who will turn 88 in December, is unable to produce or release his films in the United States after the outbreak of MeToo and the return of accusations of sexual abuse by his adopted daughter Dylan. a charge for which he was never tried due to lack of evidence. With his unmistakable glasses, gray hair and wearing a long-sleeved shirt despite the heat, Allen appears very friendly in his interview with La Vanguardia in a central hotel in the Catalan capital.
What was the experience, this Sunday, of seeing 1,200 people applauding you during the preview presentation of Golpe de Luck at the Mooby Aribau Cinema?
It's all being a bit chaotic because you go from city to city. Venice, then Lyon, then Athens. I play a jazz concert here tonight and tomorrow too. It's unusual because I usually play a day alone. Then I fly to Paris... So when I saw all those people it's something that happens every night for the last ten days and it's not real life.
He has already come to Barcelona several times. What do you like most about this city?
Has it all. She is wonderful. The culture is fantastic and I love the food. It's the kind of city I like. With those buildings, churches, it's the kind of city I'm used to. That's why I live in New York and that's why I take photos of cities that are fantastic to me. London, Rome, Barcelona are places I like to be.
Fifteen years have passed since Vicky Cristina Barcelona premiered. Do you have any ideas for reshooting another film here?
I would be very happy to film here again under any circumstances. The truth is that I would like to live here for a while. I was at the Arts hotel for three months, with a wonderful suite and everything was very nice. I need a story, a good script for Barcelona, something that can't be done in another city. Not that it can be done in New York and transferred to Barcelona.
So, Lucky Stroke isn't going to be your last film?
It's possible. I do not Know maybe. It all depends on whether something exciting comes out. Although 50 movies is enough, huh? If someone calls me from Barcelona and wants to finance a film here, then I would start thinking about an idea for this city.
Why did you want to film Luck in France and in French?
I wanted to shoot it in French because I've always wanted to make a European film. They are the movies that I liked when I was young. I love the French films of Truffaut, Godard, Laloux and the Italian films of Fellini, Antonioni. I love Ingmar Bergman and I wanted to be a filmmaker who was part of that group. But he couldn't because he was American. And I decided to do it in France because I had the idea of it being in Paris with two American characters who lived there. But in the end it was complicated and I thought it was better if all the actors were French. It was very easy and filming it in French was no problem.
Do you believe our lives are moved by luck or destiny?
By luck. You can go out for a walk and get hit by a truck. It is a matter of luck. You are always at the mercy of luck. Of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It is his 50th film. A good time to look back at his career. What is the most important thing she has learned about the film industry in all this time?
Well, if you are serious, never work on a project for money to make a profit. There are going to be many opportunities where you can do that and you always have to try to work to get the best film possible but not for the money you are going to earn. I have been offered a lot of money to do Annie Hall 2 or Manhattan 2 but I would never do it. I have always tried to make another good film.
Do you regret anything?
I have a million things I regret and I'm not going to tell him (laughs).
Stroke of Luck has garnered great praise for its presentation at the Venice Film Festival, but the Cannes Film Festival previously chose not to invite it. Do you feel like a victim of cancel culture?
I've been very lucky because I've been able to make movies and I've been able to do everything I wanted to do. I find cancel culture to be bullshit in any case. I consider myself a very lucky person. Every year I have been able to make a film and I have worked with wonderful people. It's in my hands if I make a good film, because people will like it and go see it, but if I don't make it, they won't go to the cinema. This has always been the case, even when I started. In the end it all comes down to the film, what you project on the screen. Is it going to be boring for the public and they are not going to be interested or like it? I have been very lucky because I have made 50 films and people have liked most of them.
What do you think of the strikes by Hollywood screenwriters and actors? Do you support them?
Yes. I belong to all these unions that are on strike. I don't know much about the financial negotiations, but on the topic of artificial intelligence I am 100% in favor. I don't think anyone's face or voice should be used without their permission. If I appear in a movie, no one should be able to take my image or my voice and use it in other movies and reproduce them. I think that's terrible and needs to be reconfigured. As for money, I have always been a union person. And I see the people at the studio who all have a lot of money and the actors don't. They have money but there is a big difference. Therefore, I hope that everything is resolved and that the unions are satisfied and that the writers, actors and directors reach an agreement. I'll be happy when it's over and it's a happy ending.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like them to forget me. With that I would be more than satisfied. When I'm gone, I don't care how they remember me. It means nothing to me. I will be there with my eyes closed and the truth is that I will be part of oblivion. Once it's gone, what difference does it make? I will not be. So say what you want. Like Shakespeare or Beethoven, what do things mean to them now? They have disappeared. I don't care what happens.
Tell me about your love of jazz. Do you enjoy playing the clarinet more than filming?
I love jazz and cinema as an audience. I love watching movies and listening to jazz, but I can't compare the two professionally. Movies are part of my life, jazz is a hobby and I'm not very good. We play with each other, we have fun and when people come to see us, it's fantastic. We are very surprised and happy.
What do you think of Spanish cinema?
Everyone likes Buñuel. I think he is one of the great geniuses and inspirations of cinema. When I was young we used to occasionally watch Spanish films in the United States, but not for years. Now we have the opportunity to see them but we don't really know them there. The small cinemas have closed and disappeared and there are no longer any French, Swedish or German films. It's awful.
In an interview last year with this newspaper, he assured that he would like to write his first novel. Have you gotten down to work?
No, but maybe I'll start soon. If I don't make more films, the only alternative is to write for the theater or books. But right now Broadway theater in New York is at a very low level. He's going through a bad patch. So it will be more advantageous to write a book. It's more relaxing because I'm home alone, I write and if I don't like something I throw it in the trash. To make a movie you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and you can't throw away a scene.
He is missed as an actor. Don't you plan to get in front of the camera again?
It's harder as you get older because there aren't enough characters. If I had an idea for a script, something that I could participate in, without it being forced, I would love to play the role.