Director: Woody Allen

85 minutes| U.S.A.| 1991| Black and White| 35mm

A serial killer is at large in a small European community in the 1920s; a hapless clerk (Woody Allen) comes under suspicion. This film is part homage to German Expressionist cinema, with a circus subplot that alludes to The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and a situation and atmosphere reminiscent of Fritz Lang’s M. It is also part Jewish nightmare, beginning like Kafka and evoking a pre-Holocaust world dominated by fear and paranoia.

‘Maybe it’s too much to expect an audience to be interested in an allegorical period piece,’ mused Allen when the film met with box-office indifference and critical disdain, but it now seems to be one of his most haunting and humane works, in which all human weaknesses – and some of its strengths – converge one fateful, foggy night. A tremendous cast, which includes John Malkovich, Mia Farrow, Jodie Foster, Donald Pleasence and Madonna, revels in the mist.

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