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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Woody Allen meets Jean-Luc Godard

An excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, Life Itself: Woody Allen thought of Bergman as a genius. He told me the American cinema had produced only one genius, Orson Welles. "Godard is supposed to be a genius," he told me dubiously one day. I told him I had witnessed the table napkin at Cannes upon which the producer Menachem Golan wrote out a contract with Godard, misspelling Godard's name while promising him a script by Norman Mailer, and a cast including Orson Welles as Lear and Woody Allen as the Fool.

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"Norman Mailer wrote the screenplay?" Allen asked. "Well, there was no screenplay at all the day Godard shot me. I worked for half a day. I completely put myself into his hands. He shot over in the Brill Building, working very sparsely, just Godard and a cameraman, and he asked me to do foolish things, which I did because it was Godard. It was one of the most foolish experiences I've ever had. I'd be amazed if I was anything but consummately insipid.

"He was very elusive about the subject of the film. First he said it was going to be about a Lear jet that crashes on an island. Then he said he wanted to interview everyone who had done King Lear, from Kurosawa to the Royal Shakespeare. Then he said I could say whatever I wanted to say. He plays the French intellectual very well, with the 5 o'clock shadow and a certain vagueness. Meanwhile, when I got there for the shoot, he was wearing pajamas--tops and bottoms--and a bathrobe and slippers, and smoking a big cigar. I had the uncanny feeling that I was being directed by Rufus T. Firefly. Here is the complete film: Watch King Lear (1987, Jean-Luc Godard) in Culture | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

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