W-100: ANNIE HALL

annie hallWhite One Hundred: 100 Great Films Starring Only White People, #11 – Annie Hall. Few American directors have taken more shit for the exclusion of people of color in their films than Woody Allen—and rightfully so. Don’t get me wrong, because I actually like many of Allen’s films, including Annie Hall, which is a crucial film in his evolution as a writer and a director (though I would argue not his best film, by any stretch of the imagination). Annie Hall, like a considerable number of Allen’s movies, take place in New York City, the most densely populated and ethnically diverse metropolitan area in all of the United States, and it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack to find even an extra who isn’t white in more than half of his films (and he’s directed almost fifty). I know some of you have serious problems with Allen, but some of those subjects are not what I’m trying to discuss here (especially anything that has to do with young Asian girls). What I am trying to discuss is the fact that Allen has a talent for creating rich characters in compelling stories—Crimes and Misdemeanors and Hannah and Her Sisters being back-to-back examples of Allen at his best—and within these worlds, Allen creates worlds devoid of color. And I would argue that if it weren’t for the fact that the city of New York was such an integral character in so many of his films, most people wouldn’t even notice the lack of diversity in his movies. Though in all fairness, and to give him credit, Allen did have a black actor playing a sperm in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (I write with as much biting sarcasm as can be conveyed through a blog post).

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