Woody Allen is not a good person. Accusations against him have long pervaded his career, the most serious being an accusation of sexual assault by his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow. This accusation by Farrow came to light in 1992 but has recently resurfaced to the public eye in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Many think that the time has come to hold Woody Allen accountable for his actions, and the first step is not allowing his most recent film “A Rainy Day in New York” to air. I agree that his career should be over; however I don’t think the film should go down with him.
Given its contract with the film’s producers, Amazon Studios is under obligation to release the film in some way. Instead of releasing the film with its traditional promotion and fanfare, another option for Amazon Studios is to release the film on its streaming platform without promoting it. By choosing this option, Amazon Studios would be upholding its agreement with Allen, but in this way, he would not see great success for his film. This is enough of a measure, and breaking the contract is unnecessary.
A work of art, in and of itself, can be appreciated without appreciating the artist. Art may be influenced and shaped by its creator, but like the mother-to-child relationship, art should be able to achieve acclaim independent from the artist. A book may be written in an author’s unique style, but what one takes away from it is up to the reader. In the case of Allen’s newest film, it should be up to the viewers.
Viewers, who tend to be old and committed to him regardless of what he has dones would most likely be fans of Allen either way. Though some young people are just now learning of Allen’s history, for the predominant consumers of the film, the information will likely not be new. Those fans have already made up their minds on Allen. Separating an artist from their work is something that is easier for some more than others. These fans accept the controversy surrounding Allen and still wish to see his film. Let them.
Although an individual choice, the fact that so many people were involved in the creation of the film already helps separate the film from Woody Allen. Allen’s vision is not the only one in this movie but also that of so many others. I do freely admit I have not seen the movie, and therefore cannot determine how much of it belongs to who, but it is difficult to disregard the entire film as belonging to a misogynist and criminal. People aside from Allen put a lot of work, time and effort into the movie. I understand arguments against promoting the film, but releasing it in some form would at least allow those who have worked on it to see the fruits of their labor.
When it comes down to it, the decision of whether or not to see the film should be up to viewers. Some fans of Allen have continued to show interest in his movies, and others may believe it is possible to separate Allen’s crimes — sexual assault allegations — with his artwork. By releasing the film on its streaming service, without promotion, Amazon Studios would fulfill its contract but also make a statement that there will be punishment for Allen’s actions, while still allowing separation between his personal and professional life. This is an opportunity to do what could have been done decades ago: bring about justice for Woody Allen’s crimes. Perhaps it is not the most extreme way of taking action. Perhaps it is not the strongest statement. However, it is the one that makes the most sense.
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Email Victor Porcelli at [email protected].