Cinema: Woody Allen announces his retirement after his last film entirely shot in French

Currently in France to work on his 50th feature film, director Woody Allen has announced that he will retire at the end of this new film, shot entirely in French. His last work, “Rifkin’s Festival”, released in July, had been one of the biggest failures of his career.

A page of American cinema is closing. In an interview with the Catalan newspaper La VanguardiaWoody Allen has announced his retirement from directing after his next film, which will be made in France.

Since the emergence of the #MeToo movement and the accusations of sexual assault of his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, the New York director has only appeared behind the camera once with his latest film, “Rifkin’s Festival”, shunned by critics and the public. His previous work, “A Rainy Day in New York” had been reduced to a technical release in the United States, following the resurgence of these attacks.

Four Oscars, two Caesars, a Palme d’Or

Figurehead of New Hollywood, Woody Allen began directing with the feature film “Lily the Tigress”, before gaining fame with timeless works such as “Annie Hall”, “Manhattan” or “Hannah and her sisters”. Its intimate staging and sharp dialogues have given new impetus to American comedy, which tackles more raw themes, such as sexuality or religion.

As a true Stakhanovist, Woody Allen has affixed his credit to 49 films in 56 years, apart from his works and his appearances as an actor on other films. In total, he will have received more than 70 awards including four Oscars (two for “Annie Hall”, one for “Hannah and her sisters” and one for “Midnight in Paris”), two César for best foreign film (“Manhattan” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo”) and an honorary Palme d’Or for her entire career.

Since his exclusion from the Hollywood industry, the filmmaker has found funding in Europe, notably in Spain with Mediapro for “Rifkin’s Festival”, shot in San Sebastian. When the project was announced, he had however indicated “never having thought of stopping” the cinema.

But the failure of this last film marked the director from the Bronx. In an interview with actor Alec Baldwin on Instagram, he said “much of the thrill is gone”, implying a very near end of career. He also recalled no longer “having as much fun making a film” as in his glorious era.

A swan song with a very French accent

Woody Allen will thus bid farewell with his 50th film, entitled “Wasp 22”. And the latter will be shot in France, in Paris. The director had announced, at the beginning of July, that he would be back in the capital for a “lovely and poisonous thriller”, in the same vein as one of his greatest recent successes, “Match Point”. Filming is expected to begin this fall.

If the feature film is produced with American funds, Allen assured that it will be shot in French and with local actors. The casting is for the moment kept secret, but rumors swell about the presence of Isabelle Huppert in the distribution. The project, budgeted around 10 million dollars, is also “two years old” and has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paris brought luck to the New Yorkers. Indeed, he achieved his greatest success there at the international box office, “Midnight in Paris”, shot in the City of Light with Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard, and for which he won the Oscar for best original screenplay. “I have wonderful memories of filming in 2010. I love this city and I have visited it very often, discovering magical places each time,” he said.

Now, Woody Allen wants to focus on his cap as a writer. He exercised his pen for the last time in June, with “Zero Gravity”, a collection of humorous essays.

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Cinema: Woody Allen announces his retirement after his last film entirely shot in French