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Until not so long ago, people went to the new Woody Allen movie like a ceremony with a mystical air, but very pagan.

The grace of self-celebration was celebrated: few directors make their audience feel better.

The intelligence of the most intelligent of directors has a fine and very tight device that forces the viewer, even if only for an hour and a half, to feel good, to feel intelligent.

Not that it makes us smart, watch out.

That is already due to genes, training or simply the diet low in saturated fat.

Who knows.

Let's say that the way between cheerfully pessimistic and blatantly self-indulgent, all at once, of feeling bad has made Woody Allen all this time so identical to any of us that it is inevitable not to see himself reflected for a moment in his fears, doubts and each of their anguish.

The impudent display of his unpopularity made him terribly popular.

And there it continues.

Or not so much anymore.

'Rifkin's Festival'

, the strangest opening film of the San Sebastian Festival in recent years, is basically one more step, perhaps the highest (or the lowest, depending on how you look at it), in this ceremony of collective self-condescension.

Allen makes movies (this is if the counts are correct, the one that completes the number 49) as well as the one that fills in sudokus.

The rules are strict.

The accounts have to come out.

The pattern, with increasingly rare variations, is known:

a man doubts himself convinced that life is denying him something.

And so on until he realizes that the problem is not the food disgust that existence consists of;

The problem is that the portions, despite everything, are terribly scarce.

And so.

The joke is Allen's, of course.

The film tells of a couple's trip to the San Sebastian Festival.

She (

Gina Gershon

) is representative of, in this case, a genuinely and brilliantly jerk director (

Louis Garrel

in a frightening exercise of himself).

He (

Wallace Shawn

) is a writer hell-bent on writing the masterpiece that he will never even be able to imagine.

He is also a movie buff, apprehensive, a stammering speaker, and therefore his responsibility is to

act as

the director's own


alter ego


Along the way, the latter will be dazzled by the beauty, poise and accent of his doctor (Elena Anaya), who cannot help but be fatally in love with another, with an artist (

Sergi López

turned into the funniest and happiest of all ) as fickle as it is chaotic.


a Woody Allen movie.

And period.

Elena Anaya, co-star of 'Rifkin's Festival'.EFE

Let's say that the director chooses not to complicate his life and re-shoots the usual in a setting that would seem identical to the usual one.

You have to go back to 2013 with the irrefutable

'Blue Jasmine'

to attend her latest stroke of genius.

Since then, there have been five films and an entire miniseries that have allowed us all to enjoy the most brilliantly lazy of creators.

Allen is a tireless worker of his own laziness

at the rate of one movie a year, barring the pause forced by boycott or COVID.

The film's greatest achievement is also its worst sin.

At times, he interrupts the narration to recreate the dreams of timeless movies.

And there appear

'Citizen Kane', 'Person', 'The exterminating angel'

or, of course and instead of honor,

'The seventh seal'


Christoph Waltz

in the role of Death.

Welles, Buñuel, Begman or Fellini

are among parodies and honored in a resource that seems both charming and terribly pedestrian.

They are quotes to movies designed to be effortlessly recognized, placed in the memory of any viewer who is not too demanding for, and we go back to the beginning, to make us feel good;

make us feel smart.

The ceremony, therefore, continues.

You go to an Allen movie, we said, as less convinced believers go to a mass in Latin.

The content or the faith itself does not matter so much as the spectacle, the archaic and very old-fashioned dramatization of the ceremony itself.

The problem is that with the passage of time, the director demands more and more of

an increasingly disbelieving viewer.

We like to meet again with the abused genius;

We appreciate your willingness to travel the world always ready to make a new movie ... and that's it.

You leave the cinema, you see the usual ... how little it lasts to feel intelligent!

Every time less.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

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