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THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO

Director: WOODY ALLEN

82 minutes| U.S.A.| 1985| Colour/Black and White| 35mm


‘I just met a wonderful man,’ says Mia Farrow’s downtrodden Depression waitress, adding: ‘He’s fictional, but you can’t have everything.’ The essence of the film is in that line: its situation of what happens when a film character (Jeff Daniels) steps from the screen into the waitress’ real world; its theme of the tension between life and fiction; and its tone of wondrous humour tinged with melancholy disillusionment. This is Woody Allen at his finest, a great idea ingeniously developed and delivered with dazzling cinematic virtuosity. There is a lovely performance from Mia Farrow and although Allen does not himself appear, his presence is felt, as the critic Robert Benayoun suggested, rather in the manner of the Cheshire Cat’s invisible grin – appropriate for a comedy with the logic and yet surreal imagination of a Lewis Carroll. Its appearance in the programme alongside Allen’s not dissimilar new film should provoke lively debate about his career development.<

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