¡Hoy se estrena en San Sebastián El buen patrón!

El arte, la genialidad, la crítica, el ingenio, el talento y el humor de Fernando León de Aranoa llegan hoy al Festival de San Sebastián con El buen patrón.

Podremos ver al camaleónico Javier, al gran Celso, a Óscar, a Rafa, a Almudena, a Manolo, a Sonia, a Mara, a Fernando, a Tarik, a Nico y a la preciosa y talentosa Dalit.

El buen patrón llega a todos los cines españoles el 15 de octubre.

¡Gracias por tu maravilloso arte, Fernando!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, 
Madrid, 21 de septiembre de 2021

El buen patrón (Tráiler Oficial)

¡El buen patrón llega a las pantallas de nuestros cines españoles el 15 de octubre de 2021!

La brillante tragicomedia (satírica, mordaz, genial, poética e ingeniosa, como todo el cine de Fernando León de Aranoa) competirá por la Concha de Oro en el Festival de San Sebastián.

Bravo, Fernando. Bravo, Javier. Bravo, Celso. Bravo, Óscar. ¡Y un súper bravo para el simpático Nico y la maravillosa, guapísima y súper talentosa Dalit!

And for my English speaking friends, here’s the trailer in Spanish with English subtitles. Enjoy!

¡Gracias por tu arte, Fernando!

Antonia Tejeda Barros, 
Madrid, 31 de julio 2021

The HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production: Propaganda, Slander, Omission, Shame, Lies, Melodrama, and Racism

Today I’m going to write my last post regarding this shameful false accusation against icon writer and cinema director Woody Allen. My post will not appear in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, not even The Guardian, but I’m a huge Woody Allen fan, a woman, a mother of three wonderful children, a musician and a PhD candidate (Philosophy), and I also have something to say. I’m sick and tired of seeing a wonderful and innocent man like Woody being insulted, wrongly judged and slandered. I’m furious at the herd, the bullies and the stupidity of the majority. Furthermore, I’m so tired of the fact that the name of Woody Allen is now almost always linked to the Farrow clan. On one side we have a wonderful genius who creates beauty and masterpieces, and, on the other side, we have a pitiful-non-talented clan that destroys and slanders. Enough with that.

Woody is a genius who has written the most beautiful roles for women, has brought to the world the most brilliant movies filled with poetry, philosophy, laughter, sadness, and beauty, and has given to millions of fans all around the world joy with his art: his amazing masterpieces, his terrific books, and his wonderful New Orleans Jazz. But Woody is not only a genius, he’s also a human being with feelings, a loving husband to his wife Soon-Yi (29 years together, 24 years married, and still going strong), and a loving father (Soon-Yi and Woody have two adopted beautiful and bright daughters: Bechet, 22, and Manzie, 21, who adore their parents). Woody is made of blood and flesh, like you and me, has never committed any crime and has been slandered heavily since 2018, and for many years before. So, this insanity stops now.

Of course, the fact that the world has become crazy and that legal justice seems to be irrelevant today, and that personal affairs are now “solved” on Twitter, one-sided magazines and shameful garbage productions instead of in court, doesn’t help. The last spit on sanity, common sense, justice and human dignity is the recent HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow garbage production that turns a vengeful insane woman (Mia Farrow) into a saint and an innocent and brilliant man (Woody) into the devil. This HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production should win a Guinness World of Records award for the most manipulated, untruthful, racist, slamming and shameful “documentary” ever. Goebbels would probably have loved it.

The world has gone nuts (again), and the Dreyfus affair, the lynchings of African Americans in the late 19th and early 20th century, even the Holocaust, and the McCarthyism inevitably come to my mind when TV shows like the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production are being aired. How is it possible to even make a TV show on a false accusation that was proven false almost 30 years ago? Is that possible thanks to the general stupidity of the American public? Or to the stupidity of the majority of the human population? Woody says in Hollywood Ending: “You mean why the country got so stupid suddenly? My theory is fast food”.

What strikes me is the huge fear that (good) journalists seem to have to openly declare that the whole “case” against Woody is a prefabricated lie meticulously prepared by the Farrow clan. At best, you get some articles denouncing the one-sided approach that the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production has, but that’s not it. The whole production is based on a non-event. And that should be said out loud. Why are people in the US so afraid of saying out loud that Woody has been falsely accused? Woody is a victim of a false accusation. And that’s a crime. If you believe a false victim, you are accusing an innocent man. And to accuse an innocent man is a crime. Period.

One of the very few brave (American) people who have openly defended Woody is the great Bob Weide (Woody Allen’s fans new hero). You can read here his brilliant posts The Truth About Woody Allen, Part I (April 8, 2019), and The Truth About Woody Allen, Part II (April 8, 2019), and his article The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast (from 2014, updated 2017). Bob has also written about the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production in his great post The Mia/Woody HBO Documentary–What to Watch for (February 7, 2021) and about the case of the mysterious train in his brilliant post Farrow v. Farrow: The Case of the Magical, Disappearing Electric Toy Train Set (February 28, 2021). Other famous voices that have supported Woody (American and non-American) have been, so far, Alec Baldwin, Diane Keaton, Javier Bardem, Scarlet Johansson, Anjelica Huston, Dianne Wiest, Léa Seydoux, Wallace Shawn, Larry David, Cherry Jones, Joy Behar, Gina Gershon, Elena Anaya, Jeff Goldblum, Antonio Banderas, Alan Alda, Cate Blanchett, Alessandra Mastronardi, Blake Lively, Emily Mortimer, Charlotte Rampling, Caroline Aaron, Isabelle Huppert. Lots of women. Still, the voices are timid, not loud. Everybody fears being lynched. I wonder why.

Coming back to the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production, I think that, if you decide to go with the charade, then at least make it balanced. Open the theater, but for everybody. Talk about everything. Don’t condemn Woody’s love for Soon-Yi (a true love that has defeated all the criticisms of the puritan minds: almost three decades together and still going strong), and leave out Mia Farrow’s affairs with Sinatra and Previn. Don’t talk about “inappropriate” behavior (Americans love that word: “inappropriate”) from Woody and leave out the fact that Mia Farrow slept with her biological (Sinatra’s?) son Ronan until he was 11 years old (ahem, ahem). Don’t talk about the great mommy that Mia Farrow was and leave out the tragedies of many of her adopted children. Let’s not forget that Mia Farrow has/had 4 biological children and 10 adopted children. From the 10 adopted children, it’s important to remember that two of them (Tam and Thaddeus Farrow) sadly committed suicide (Tam died from a pill overdose and Thaddeus shot himself in the torso). Another of Mia Farrow’s adoptive daughters (Lark Previn) sadly died of AIDS alone and in poverty at age 35. These are three tragedies that neither the Farrow clan nor the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production have mentioned. Then, don’t use 4 episodes inflating a false accusation against Woody and leave out Mia Farrow’s own brother’s pedophilia. Yes, you are reading it correctly: Mia Farrow’s own brother (John Villers-Farrow) was sentenced in 2013 to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing two boys over a period of 8 years. That’s explosive news, and, nevertheless, very few people know about this. Again, neither the Farrow clan nor the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production have condemned John Villers-Farrow’s pedophilia.

Then, do you want to talk about child abuse, HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production? Great. Let’s talk about child abuse. Let’s talk about the abuse that Moses, Soon-Yi and other adopted children suffered at the hands of Mia Farrow. Did you know that Mia Farrow used to beat, lock and drag down a flight of stairs some of her adopted children? These abuses have been completely silenced by the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production. Let’s now hear Soon-Yi and Moses:

Soon-Yi said in 1992 (in 1992! But nobody, absolutely nobody, cared):

“Mia was always very hot-tempered and given to rages which terrified all the kids. They can’t speak freely because they’re still dependent on her. But they could really tell stories and I’m sure one day will. It’s true Mia was violent with me and I have conclusive proof”. (Soon-Yi Speaks: ‘Let’s Not Get Hysterical’, 1992)

In 2018, Soon-Yi said: “Mia was never kind to me, never civil”. (Introducing Soon-Yi Previn)

In Moses’ famous post of May 23, 2018, A Son Speaks Out (conveniently omitted in the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production), Moses writes:

“I’m a very private person and not at all interested in public attention. But, given the incredibly inaccurate and misleading attacks on my father, Woody Allen, I feel that I can no longer stay silent as he continues to be condemned for a crime he did not commit“.

“Mia had adopted me, her seventh child, as a single parent in 1980. In 1992 she successfully petitioned to allow Woody to co-adopt both Dylan and me, writing to the adoption agency, detailing what an excellent father he was (…) I never once saw anything that indicated inappropriate behavior at any time“.

“It was important to my mother to project to the world a picture of a happy blended household of both biological and adopted children, but this was far from the truth”.

It pains me to recall instances in which I witnessed siblings, some blind or physically disabled, dragged down a flight of stairs to be thrown into a bedroom or a closet, then having the door locked from the outside. She even shut my brother Thaddeus, paraplegic from polio, in an outdoor shed overnight as punishment for a minor transgression.”

“Soon-Yi was her most frequent scapegoat (…) When Soon-Yi was young, Mia once threw a large porcelain centerpiece at her head. Luckily it missed, but the shattered pieces hit her legs. Years later, Mia beat her with a telephone receiver. Soon-Yi’s made it clear that her desire was simply to be left alone, which increasingly became the case. Even if her relationship with Woody was unconventional, it allowed her to escape. Others weren’t so lucky.”

“The summer between first and second grades… my mother came over to my bed and found a tape measure. She gave me a piercing look that stopped me in my tracks and asked if I had taken it, as she had been looking for it all day. I stood in front of her, frozen. She asked why it was on my bed. I told her I didn’t know, that perhaps a workman had left it there. She asked again and again and again. When I didn’t give the answer she wanted, she slapped my face, knocking off my glasses. She told me I was lying and directed me to tell my brothers and sisters that I had taken the tape measure. Through my tears I listened to her as she explained that we would rehearse what should have happened. She would walk into the room and I would tell her I was sorry for taking the tape measure, that I had taken it to play with and that I would never do it again. She made me rehearse it at least a half-dozen times. That was the start of her coaching, drilling, scripting, and rehearsing – in essence, brainwashing. I became anxious and fearful“.

Once, when I was given a new pair of jeans, I thought they would look cool if I cut off a couple of the belt loops. When Mia saw what I had done, she spanked me repeatedly and had me remove all my clothing, saying, “You’re not deserving of any clothes” and making me stand naked in the corner of her room, in front of my older siblings (…) In short, it was not a happy home – or a healthy one“. (Moses Farrow, A Son Speaks Out).

In these two videos Moses recalls being humiliated and abused by Mia Farrow:

Moses has reconnected with Woody Allen, and is estranged by the whole Farrow clan. In 2014 Dylan Farrow said (or tweeted?): “My brother is dead to me”. How nice.

Woody’s “case” is more clear than water. Woody was cleared in 1993 by two investigation teams. After a 14-month-old investigation, the New York State child welfare investigators dropped their inquiry saying they considered the accusation against him unfounded stating: “No credible evidence was found that the child named in this report has been abused or maltreated”. The doctor who headed the Connecticut investigation in 1993, Dr. John M. Leventhal, saw strong inconsistencies in Dylan Farrow’s statement and concluded that Dylan either invented the story or that this fantasy was planted in Dylan’s mind by her mother: “We had two hypotheses: one, that these were statements that were made by an emotionally disturbed child and then became fixed in her mind. And the other hypothesis was that she was coached or influenced by her mother. We did not come to a firm conclusion. We think that it was probably a combination.” The Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Child Sexual Abuse Clinic Evaluation of Dylan Farrow concluded that Dylan was not sexually abused: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen”. Also, another fact that the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production “forgets” to mention is that Woody voluntary took and passed a lie detector proof in 1992, while Mia Farrow declined to have one. Case closed!

But the show goes on. The lie goes on. Why? Because when the investigations cleared Woody and stated that no abuse has ever occurred, Mia Farrow, instead of being happy for her adoptive daughter’s mental health, continued her eternal crusade against Woody (until today!). A crusade that has been happily taken over by the now-adult-Dylan Farrow (who clearly enjoys the publicity, desperately needs the approval of Twitter and is delighted with the mistreatment of Woody), and by the now-adult-Ronan Farrow (Sinatra’s son?), who clearly takes enormous pleasure and effort in making Woody sink.

But, what’s the real reason behind this false accusation? One of the strongest love stories ever. One of the bravest women on Earth: Soon-Yi. Woody’s biological daughter? Nope. Woody’s adopted daughter? Nope. Woody’s step-daughter? Nope. Soon-Yi is Woody’s wife for almost 3 decades. Who is Soon-Yi? Soon-Yi was born c. 1970 in Korea. She was adopted in 1977 by André Previn and Mia Farrow and brought to the United States. She’s, of course, American. In spite of the eternal denigration she suffered at the hands of Mia Farrow when she was little (Farrow used to call her retarded and stupid), she’s a highly intelligent and cultivated woman, speaks several languages, majored in Art from Drew University and earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Columbia University.

“I’m a psychology major at college who fell for a man who happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Mia. I admit it’s offbeat, but let’s not get hysterical. The tragedy here is that, because of Mia’s vindictiveness, the children must suffer.” (Soon-Yi Speaks: ‘Let’s Not Get Hysterical’, 1992)

You can read her story in this explosive interview by Daphne Merkin: Introducing Soon-Yi Previn. This honest and powerful interview was completely ignored by the media and the supporters of the Farrow clan when it appeared two and a half years ago, and has been completely silenced by the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production.

So, Mia Farrow can help make thousands of melodramatic garbage productions, she can invent thousands of false accusations, she can decide to destroy her adoptive children’s lives, but she will never be able to change the fact that Woody and Soon-Yi fell in love, love each other for 29 years, formed a beautiful family and are super happy together. In your face, Mia!

Now, there is another thing that the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production has shown. A terrible thing: racism. I personally hate to make distinctions by “race” or “ethnicity”, two words that inevitably remind me of the extermination of millions of Jewish men, women and children –ghettos, Einsatzgruppen and gas chambers (let’s not forget that the Holocaust happened only 80 years ago). There is nothing lower than racism and antisemitism. So, coming back to the Farrows: all the adopted children of Mia Farrow are/were (three are sadly dead) American, of course, in spite of where they were born. But some were born in the US and others outside the US. And now, a small parenthesis: I have three children (a 14-year-old daughter, a 12-year-old son, and a 7-year-old daughter –all huge Woody Allen fans) and I have always educated them against racism. When my youngest daughter saw the movie Il a déjà tes yeux (a French comedy where a Black-French couple adopts a White-French baby), she couldn’t see that there was something different with the baby (and my youngest daughter is gifted –so is my son and my oldest daughter). So, I smiled and felt very proud of myself as a mother for the education I gave my children against racism. The point of this parenthesis is that I don’t care at all where the adopted children of Mia Farrow were born, or from where their biological parents were. I don’t like to play the racism card, but apparently the Farrow clan and the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production give importance to the origin of these kids. Because, if not, how could such a scandalous unequal treatment (by both Mia Farrow and the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production) of Mia Farrow’s adopted children be possible? Some are heard; others silenced. Some enjoy privileges; others commit suicide. Some stay in the clan; others are estranged. Some are welcomed; others died alone in poverty. This horrid inequality has only one name: racism. Have you heard, Dick? Have you heard, Ziering? Have you heard, HBO? Have you heard, Farrow clan? You are racists. But I’m happy that all the world can see that now.

Then, to the phrase that I hear a lot lately: “Believe all survivors”. Yes: Believe them. As long as they are true survivors. To the other phrase: “Believe all victims”. Well, the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production carefully decided to believe only some of the victims. But that’s not it. The real problem is that the victims they picked to believe are the wrong victims.

Well, I’m going to wrap up, because only a few people will read this. I didn’t see the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production nor do I plan to ever see it. I also never saw The Birth of a Nation (Oh, Americans really seem to miss the myth of the Lost Cause, don’t they?), and I never watch “documentaries” that glorify Holocaust denial. All that garbage belongs in the garbage. And that’s where it lays. I’m very happy to have read that the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production has terrible ratings and that the critical reviews are absolutely sinking it. That’s what happens when you create a shameful pile of crap.

By the way, IMDb is declining most of the critical reviews. I know that because mine has been declined 5 times, and my husband’s too. In 2018, after those crocodile tears on TV, I created the Facebook group I Believe Woody. Today it has more than 11,200 members, and many members have written against the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production, but only a few critical reviews have been approved on IMDb. Also, I’m an administrator and moderator of other Woody Allen Facebook groups: Woody Allen Quotes (more than 28,000 members), Woody Allen Appreciation Society (more than 4,600 members), and Woody Allen Fans (more than 2,600 members), and I can say that all Woody Allen fans are furious at the propaganda, slander, omission, shame, lies, melodrama, and racism of the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production. Their voices too are being silenced, because their reviews on IMDb are being declined (or approved and, after 3 days, deleted). So, our hero can be slandered but we are not allowed to say anything? Well, the good news is that an imminent lawsuit will destroy the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production and all the people involved in it. That’s a delicious thought.

Woody Allen’s Official Facebook Page (with more than 2.2 MILLION of followers) posted an official statement from Woody and Soon-Yi some days ago:

So, this shameful HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production is the same old lie. The same old story. The same false accusation. Everything, everything points to Woody’s innocence and Mia Farrow’s diabolical vengeful pathology. The Farrow clan have spent their lives accusing an innocent man. That must be tiring! Poor them. How pathetic. Such a waste of a life. They will be so easily forgotten. But millions of fans from all around the world will continue loving, adoring and praising Woody’s work until the end of times.

One of the coolest photos that describe the feelings that Woody Allen’s family, friends, supporters and fans have towards this disgusting campaign against Woody is the following photo, posted on Woody Allen’s Official Facebook Page, right before the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow production aired. Here you go, that’s for all of you: HBO, Dick, Ziering, Farrow clan, and supporters of the lie!

Woody will always be remembered as the genius who created the most powerful, beautiful and brilliant roles for women, the genius who drew poetry with his films, the genius who poured philosophy in his films, the genius who made us cry and laugh, and the genius who made us think about love, life and death. On the contrary, the three vengeful Farrows, the HBO-Dick-Ziering-Farrow garbage production, and all the opportunists who felt good slandering Woody and tweeting against Woody will be remembered by their ugliness, injustice and cowardice for some years and finally will be forgotten for ever.

Antonia Tejeda Barros, 
Madrid, March 5, 2021

Rifkin’s Festival: A homage to cinema and existentialism. Nobody makes movies like Woody any more!

Rifkin’s Festival is a masterpiece!

A homage to cinema and existentialism. So so so beautiful! And meaningful! (even if Woody wouldn’t agree). Nobody makes movies like Woody any more.

This movie really touched my heart: it moved me, it made me laugh and it made me think about life, love, and death. I got my dosis of philosophy and art for a year!

Rifkin’s Festival is a real gem. One of Woody’s best films! Poetic, philosophical, magical, funny, sad, delightful, entertaining, and magnificent. A marvellous script, a spectacular cast, an exquisite cinematography, and wonderful music. Delicious and indispensable!

The movie is so incredibly good and it says so much that I really hope it is not Woody’s last film.

Bravo, Woody! Thank you so much for your art! Please, keep creating!

10 / 10

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 2, 2020

The Irishman: A Masterpiece About Men Made For Men

irishman

Yep. You’ve read the title correctly. Let me start by saying that I love Scorsese, I love De Niro, I love Al Pacino, and I love Joe Pesci. The performances in The Irishman are all stunning. The Irishman is a masterpiece, yes, but a masterpiece with a big moustache and a big beard.

Let me clarify that I really dislike those women who preach hate towards men. I am a mother of three wonderful children (two girls and a boy) and I don’t like those women who treat men like enemies. I also find it absurd to talk about female directors and male directors instead of just directors, or about female nominees and male nominees instead of just nominees (any way, who cares about the nominee thing: cinema is an art, not a competition!). I’ve always loved that touching and breathtaking scene in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner where John Prentice (Sidney Poitier) says to his father (Roy Glenn):

“Dad, you’re my father. I’m your son. I love you. I always have and I always will. But you think of yourself as a colored man. I think of myself as a man.”

I, too, think of myself as a human being, not as a female human being. But this inability of the vast majority of cinema directors of embracing the women universe bothers me, bores me and saddens me.

So, what happened to Scorsese? Why The Irishman, being a cinematic masterpiece as it is, left me indifferent and impassible? Because in my opinion it’s a film about men made for men, where women are left in a corner, almost transparent, like ghosts.

I understand that Scorsese wanted to focus on the lives of Frank Sheeran, Jimmy Hoffa, and Russell Bufalino (rough characters masterly played by De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci). But those men didn’t grow up on trees like apples. They had mothers, daughters, and wives who influenced them, supported them, embraced them, loved them, and hated them.

Frank Sheeran had two wives: Mary Sheeran (Aleksa Palladino in The Irishman -does she speak even once?) and Irene Sheeran (Stephanie Kurtzuba in the film), and four daughters: MatyAnne (Tess Price and Jennifer Mudge in the film), Dolores (India Ennenga and Marin Ireland), Peggy (Lucy Gallina and Anna Paquin), and Connie (Jordyn DiNatale and Kate Arrington) -which may mumble all together 10 words at most during the whole movie.

Jimmy Hoffa’s wife was Josephine Pozyswak (Welker White in the film). They were married 39 years (until Hoffa’s disappearance) and had a daughter: Barbara Ann (Rebecca Faulkenberry) -and a son: James Phillip (Ken Wulf Clark).

Bufalino’s wife was Carrie Sciandra (Kathrine Narducci in the film), who belonged to the Sciandra mafia family. Russell Bufalino and Carrie Sciandra were married more than 70 years (70 years!) and had no children.

But all those women hardly have a voice in the film. The only interesting female character in The Irishman is Peggy. All the other women in the film are almost superfluous: they remain almost silent and their bonds with the male characters are hardly drawn.

I must say that the music in The Irishman (Robbie Robertson) and the cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto) are absolutely stunning. 

I understand that The Irishman is a film about the mob. And the mob is mainly male. But in The Godfather trilogy Coppola manages to deliver three films with truly interesting and strong female characters played by stunning actresses (Keaton, Talia Shire, Morgana King, Simonetta Stefanelli, Francesca De Sapio, and Sofia Coppola) while its male characters and brilliant actors shine enormously (Brando, Al Pacino, John Cazale, James Caan, Robert Duvall, De Niro, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, Gastone Moschin, Bruno Kirby, Dominic Chianese, Andy Garcia, Joe Mantegna, Eli Wallach, Donal Donnelly, and Franc D’Ambrosio). The Godfather trilogy is also a movie that revolves around men but there you have many female voices that make the story much more attractive and real. 

keaton-godfather

Most of the films of today (and in cinema history) revolve around men and leave women in the corner. Some brilliant exceptions to this rule are Woody Allen’s films, Bergman’s films, Almodóvar’s films, and… who else’s films?

Woody’s films have always had women’s thoughts and feelings in their core. Woody is probably the director who has written the best and most interesting roles for women. I’m a huge fan of Woody’s and I love all his films. He carves the women of his films brilliantly and shows them with all their anxieties, fears, doubts, complexities, aspirations, and dreams. Woody is an amazing writer and his female characters don’t need capes or superpowers: they are women made from flesh and bones, full of love and hate. Some of the most iconic female characters in the history of cinema appear in Woody’s films. Annie Hall (1977), Interiors (1978), Manhattan (1979), Hannah And Her Sisters (1986), September (1987), Another Woman (1988), Alice (1990), Husbands and Wives (1992), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), Mighty Aphrodite (1995), Celebrity (1998), Small Time Crooks (2000), The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), Anything Else (2003), Melinda and Melinda (2004), Match Point (2005), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Blue Jasmine (2013), Wonder Wheel (2017), and A Rainy Day in New York (2019) are all films with fascinating, deep, funny, complex, and real women. Woody said that it was Keaton who inspired him to start writing about women. So, thank you so much, Diane!

Bergman was one of the first cinema directors who created a powerful yet anguishing women universe. Bergman’s female characters are mostly dark: they suffer and agonize, but they also dream and long for love, peace and communication. Bergman also wrote super interesting male characters (Victor Sjöström, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Erland Josephson, and Jarl Kulle all incarnated fascinating men). I used to love Bergman. Now I only enjoy his comedies. His dramas are too depressing and torturous for me now. Some of the deepest female characters ever written in cinema are the heroines in Sommaren med Monika (1953), Sommarnattens leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) –my favorite! (1955), Såsom i en spegel (Through a Glass Darkly, 1961), Persona (1966), Viskningar och rop (Cries & Whispers, 1972), Scener ur ett äktenskap (Scenes from a Marriage, 1974), Ansikte mot ansikte (Face to Face, 1976), and Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata, 1978).

Almost all of Almodóvar’s films revolve around women. Almodóvar’s writing is funny, sad, deep and very real. I always think that you have to be Spanish to fully understand Almodóvar’s characters and jokes. He didn’t invent anything. He just copies the hysteria, poetry, strength and anger of the Spanish women. Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (1988), Átame (1989), Tacones lejanos (1991), La flor de mi secreto (1995), Todo sobre mi madre (1999), Hable con ella (2002), Volver (2006), Los abrazos rotos (2009), and Julieta (2016) all show real women struggling, enjoying, and suffering.

Woody, Bergman and Almodóvar all have/had their muses. Woody’s muses include Keaton (the best! 9 films), Mia Fucker (sorry, I’m afraid she earned that name after her shameful vengeful persistent campaign against Woody: sadly, 13 films), Dianne Wiest (5 films), Julie Kavner (8 films), Judy Davis (5 films), Caroline Aaron (4 films), Louise Lasser (4 films), Stephanie Roth Haberle (4 films), Blythe Danner (3 films), Frances Conroy (3 films), Scarlett Johansson (3 films), Erica Leerhsen (3 films), Claire Bloom (2 films), Mariel Hemingway (2 films), Anjelica Huston (2 films), Joanna Gleason (2 films), Jessica Harper (2 films), Elaine Stritch (2 films), Janet Margolin (2 films), Debra Messing (2 films), Alison Pill (2 films), Sally Hawkins (2 films), Penélope Cruz (2 films), Parker Posey (2 films), Charlize Theron (2 films), Tracey Ullman (2 films), and Emma Stone (2 films).

Bergman’s muses were Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Harriet Andersson, and Eva Dahlbeck. Some critics argue that Bergman didn’t make stars of his own actresses, but that these stunning actresses made Bergman’s films so great.

Almodóvar’s muses include Victoria Abril, Carmen Maura, Cecilia Roth, Julieta Serrano, Marisa Paredes, Rossy de Palma, Penélope Cruz, Lola Dueñas, Kiti Mánver, Loles León, and Chus Lampreave. Almodóvar’s universe is unthinkable without all these delightful actresses.

Scorsese, on the contrary, only had male muses (funny, that word –male muse– doesn’t even exist!): Harvey Keitel, De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Leo. This is great, good for him, I don’t have any problem with that, I actually love it, but, in my opinion, this often makes his films lack that necessary women’s breath. And that’s, again, the problem with The Irishman. Scorsese’s universe is clearly masculine. I don’t mean that there are no women in his films, there are, yes, of course, but those women hardly speak, hardly exist. The women in Scorsese’s films are (as Sartre would say) contingent and not necessary. Iris (Jodie Foster), Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), Ginger (Sharon Stone), Karen (Lorraine Bracco), Danielle (Juliette Lewis), Jenny (Cameron Diaz), Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), and Naomi Lapaglia (Margot Robbie) are all attached to male characters. They mostly represent men’s desires and fantasies and hardly exist in a world or their own.

Scorsese’s most famous films revolve around men. Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Casino (1995), Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Hugo (2011), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Silence (2016) and, now, The Irishman (2019) are almost all masterpieces about men made for men. Some few exceptions are Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), New York, New York (1977), and maybe The Age of Innocence (1990). Scorsese is one of the titans of cinema but he always leaves women behind men. His art becomes, ultimately, an art about men made for men that sadly doesn’t succeed to resonate universally. 

We, women, constitute half of the population of our planet. Please, do not forget us. We also exist!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, February 7, 2020

Joker: Fasten your seat belts!

Joker is a masterpiece. But a masterpiece that will make you suffer, think, and cry. Don’t expect thousands of guns and bullets. This is a psychological portrait of one of the most mysterious villains of all.

Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is breathtaking. The cinematography is outstanding and the music is superb (a whole cello score with almost only two notes: D and F).

Joker is NOT a film for children. I’m a mother of three and we always watch great movies & masterpieces together on our cinema projector (our hero is Woody Allen), but the movie Joker is too dark and twisted for children.

Fasten your seat belts and prepare yourself for a painful yet fascinating psychological (and social) journey.

10/10

Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, October 24, 2019

A Rainy Day in New York (finally!)

A Rainy Day in New York (2019). Dir. the great Woody Allen

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Thanks to a shameful and horrifying lynching campaign against Woody I was robbed last year of my yearly Woody Allen film (me and millions of fans around the world). So, I had to wait until today (August 24th) to see the film. I was very lucky to be with my family in the Netherlands this month and this afternoon I went with my oldest daughter (she’s 13 and loves Woody’s films) to the national Dutch preview of A Rainy Day in New York at the Film Hallen (Hannie Dankbaarpassage 12, Amsterdam). We live in Madrid and in Spain the film will only arrive in October.

I don’t want to give ANY SPOILERS here, but I just will say: Wow, such a film: funny, poetic, beautiful, clever and so entertaining. We enjoyed it so much. Such a gem! Woody is so brilliant, Vittorio is the king of light, and the writing is so cool and funny. The only problem: the film felt too short! I wish it would have gone on for two more hours… (Woody should always make films that are over two hours long, one hour and a half simply feels too short).

I have to confess that I was very angry with Timothée Chalamet because of his cowardice and opportunism, but I must say that his performance in the film is very beautiful. Selena Gomez is also really good and Diego Luna is very funny. Elle Fanning is probably the weakest actress here (to play comedy isn’t that easy after all) but it doesn’t bother so much because her lines are hilarious. Cherry Jones’ performance is absolutely spectacular. Liev Schreiber, Jude Law, Will Rogers and Kelly Rohrbach are fantastic in the film but I wish they’d appear more.

The music of A Rainy Day in New York is wonderful as in all Woody Allen films, you can feel the rain’s perfume and there are plenty of quotes that will make you laugh and enjoy.

I feel really sad for the millions of Woody Allen fans around the world who still cannot watch this film. I’m furious at the stupidity and witch-hunting that goes on in the States and don’t have words to express my anger and disappointment. The world is upside down. How is it possible that Woody’s art has suffered because of a shameful prefabricated accusation? Woody has worked with hundreds and hundreds of actresses in the past half century and nobody, NOBODY, has ever complaint of wrong conduct. If you believe that prefabricated story made by three vengeful psychos you are either ignorant, stupid, antisemite, or just part of the lynch mob. Sexual predators always abuse several victims and this false absurd accusation smelled of nonsense and vengeance from the beginning. (For the ones who feel uncomfortable with the fact that Woody fell in love with Soon-Yi Previn, just have in mind that Woody and Soon-Yi love each other and are together for more than 26 years, have two wonderful healthy beautiful daughters and don’t care about what you, me or the psychos think about their love. Their relationship and their love is what triggers the stupid people, not the shameful false accusation). Everybody deserves Woody’s art (well, not everybody, the psychos and the brainless herd who follow the psychos don’t) and it’s absolutely horrific that we live in times like this, in which innocent men are tried and hung by the social media. And, by the way, go to hell, stupid Amazon.

I’ve read some bad reviews about this film. As a musician, teacher and PhD candidate (Philosophy) I know how difficult is to create, so, I have a huge respect for the artists who do create. Because to think about creating is pretty easy, to trash the art of others is the easiest thing in the world, but to create and actually finish a project is very difficult. Woody is a wonderful director and a stunning writer. He’s 83 and he’s still a creating machine and I admire that a lot and thank him a lot for that.

Woody’s films talk about love, death, dreams, art, passions and desires, and are poetic, brilliant, real, magnificent, stunning and wonderful. No superheroes here, no bombs, no explosions, just real people with normal problems, like you and me. Woody’s films make life better. Thank you for your art, Woody, and, please, keep on creating.

10 / 10

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 Antonia Tejeda Barros, Amsterdam, August 24, 2019

Sing Street

Sing Street (2016). Dir. John Carney

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Brendan (Jack Reynor): “This is life, Connor. Drive it like you stole it.”

My children and I discovered this jewel only this year (3 years after the film was released!). My youngest daughter just made a film with Ferdia (a super talented actor and a wonderful, sweet and beautiful guy) and we wanted to see Ferdia in this movie.

Sing Street is an absolutely amazing movie. It’s poetic, cool, brilliant, beautiful, and touching. The writing (John Carney) is superb, the music is really really really cool and the cast (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Jack Reynor, Lucy Boynton, Don Wycherley, Mark McKenna, Ian Kenny, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kelly Thornton, Marcella Plunkett, Lydia McGuinness, Ben Carolan, and Percy Chamburuka) is absolutely wonderful. 

Sing Street talks about the innocence of the first love, the bound between  brothers, the lack of communication between parents and teenagers, the importance of pursuing one’s dreams, and the power of music, art, and friendship. John Carney succeeds on bringing all of that and more to the screen without falling into empty cliches and with great mastery. And the British music from the 80s… Wow. Such a treat! This is a film that will make you smile, cry, sing, and dream.

My children (ages 13, 11 and 6) love Sing Street and have watched the film 7 times already (we bought the DVD and have a cinema projector at home). They know all the songs sung by Ferdia by heart (we also bought the soundtrack) and my oldest daughter almost knows the whole script by heart too. But this is a film for all ages. I was also very impressed by this film (its poetry and sweetness overwhelmed me) and can’t get the songs out of my head.

If you didn’t see this gem yet, watch it, watch it, watch it. If you saw  it in 2016: watch it again. You’ll enjoy it a lot. I promise.

The best: the script, the music, Connor’s journey, Ferdia, Jack, Lucy, and the Freud poster.

The worst: nothing.

10 / 10

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Antonia Tejeda Barros, Madrid, August 6, 2019