Film Notes: Café Society (2016) directed by Woody Allen


USA / 96 min / Color / Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions Dir: Woody Allen Pro: Lettie Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson Scr: Woody Allen Cine: Vittorio Storaro Cast: Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll, Ken Stott Synopsis: New York in the 1930s. As he has more and more trouble putting up with his bickering parents, his gangster brother and the family jewelry store, Bobby Dorfman feels like he needs a change of scenery! So he decides to go and try his luck in Hollywood where his high-powered agent uncle Phil hires him as an errand boy. In Hollywood he soon falls in love but unfortunately the girl has a boyfriend. Bobby settles for friendship – up until the day the girl knocks at his door, telling him her boyfriend just broke up with her. All of a sudden Bobby’s life takes a new turn, and a very romantic one at that. (Source Cannes Festival Press Kit)

The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on 11 May 2016, where it was selected to open the festival. The film also served as an opening movie at the Seattle International Film Festival on 19 May  2016, and it was a closing night film of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (9 July 2016). The film premiered in Spain last 26 August 2016.

AMAZON_CafeSoc_OneSheet_051916.inddYesterday, Begoña and I had the opportunity to go and see the latest Woody Allen film. Café Society, without being a masterpiece, is not bad either. I found it highly entertaining and we spent a very enjoyable evening.

Cafe Society nonetheless generates a genuine, if mild, poignancy at the end for what the central characters have and what they don’t. There’s an entirely visible formula at work here, but Allen still knows how to milk it to reasonable effect. (Click here for the full review at The Hollywood Reporter).

Production Notes  (Source Cannes Festival Press Kit)

Set in the 1930s, Woody Allen bittersweet romance CAFÉ SOCIETY follows Bronx-born Bobby Dorfman (Jesse Eisenberg) to Hollywood, where he falls in love, and back to New York, where he is swept up in the vibrant world of high society nightclub life. 

“Café Society” refers to the socialites, aristocrats, artists, and celebrities who gathered in fashionable cafes and restaurants in New York, Paris, and London in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The term became popular in New York City in the ’30s, after the end of Prohibition and the rise of the tabloid journalism that avidly covered the denizens of Café Society.

“That era has always fascinated me, says Allen. It was one of the most exciting times in the history of the city, with tremendous theatre life, café life, and restaurants. Up and down the line, wherever you were, the whole island was jumping with nighttime sophisticated activities.”

In addition to being a portrait of an era, CAFÉ SOCIETY is a family saga. Bobby’s father Marty (Ken Stott) is a gruff but deeply moral man who owns a modest jewelry store in the Bronx. His wife Rose (Jeannie Berlin) is always ready with negative assessments of his mental capacity and other failings. “She feels, probably inaccurately, that with a different husband she might have had a better life, says Allen. They fight all the time, but they’re very committed to each other and they love each other – it’s just a different kind of demonstration of it. They would be right there at the hospital bed if anything happened to either one of them.”

The love story at the heart of CAFÉ SOCIETY is bittersweet. The characters wonder about the choices they have made and the paths their lives have taken. “Life is like putting together a huge mosaic –but you only get to see one little stone at a time, you don’t get to see the big picture, says Stewart. You’re responsible for the decisions you’ve made, but your decisions weren’t fully informed.

“It’s just choices that people make in life, says Allen. Things work out for Bobby and Vonnie to some degree, but they still dream about each other and it’s not going to happen. If Vonnie had made a different decision earlier, they’d be together. But the way things are, they can only be together in their dreams.”

Café Society Official website

Café Society 2016 Cannes Festival 

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