It is a rare occasion that director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award winner, comedian, and musician Woody Allen appears in Chicago. On July 19th, in promotion of his new film, Magic In the Moonlight, Woody Allen did just that. He was in rare form, chatting on the red carpet and, as you'll see in the video below, discussing his work ethic and life view.
Woody Allen is a rare artist who continues to be prolific in his art and steadfast in his desire to create. I was honored to speak with him about his mélange of beauty and sorrow, hope and despair, joy and cruelty, and found him to be incredibly unassuming and vulnerable, answering honestly and candidly about his strengths as an artist.
Magic in the Moonlight is a film that, with humor and entertainment, pits deftly the juxtaposition of rationality and wonder on the axis we all know too well: the human condition. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Southern France and beautifully filmed to accentuate life's heavenly qualities on earth, Magic in the Moonlight, via the characters of Sophie, played by Emma Stone, and Stanley, played by Colin Firth, gently probes us to ask the question, "Is it better to live in sweet illusion or to face the smack of cruel reality?"
Incredibly, Allen is able to create a light-hearted, romantic and precious movie, all the while touching on some of the humanity's most confounding propositions: religion, love, mystery, beauty, stability, self-sacrifice and friendship. This is no easy feat, and is the mark of a skillful artist comfortable in his commentary on how the sadness of life can transform into the beauty of a single moment. Not bad, for 79!
In truth, it is no wonder that Allen made a swift, but heartfelt pass through Chicago last weekend. The screenings in Chicago and San Francisco of Magic In the Moonlight were sponsored by Metropolitan Capital Bank, based in Chicago. Metropolitan Capital's Wealth Management Consulting Group collaborated with philanthropist and business man, Ron Chez in his financing role as Executive Producer for Magic in the Moonlight. This is also no surprise as Metropolitan Capital Bank is a strong believer in the arts and the role the arts play in forming strong communities and businesses. As CEO of Metropolitan Capital Bank, Michael Rose stated on the red carpet Saturday night, "The arts act as an essential catalyst in any community, fostering dialogue and interaction. By hosting tonight's screening of Magic in the Moonlight, we are able to be both supportive of our client, Ron Chez, and his projects, and to help foster a greater appreciation of the arts through the showcasing of this latest beautiful and contemplative film from such an important artist."
Magic in the Moonlight opens in theaters July 25th and I encourage everyone to see it with an eye and ear towards the masterful and profound writing that turns around a sweet romance in a beautiful setting, with a penchant towards fairytale cinematography. In the interim, enjoy the rare interview below in which Allen talks about his view of the world, his trick for great directing and his most important attribute as an artist. And had I known I would have gotten him in such a tender mood (he leaned in and touched my elbow as we spoke, reminding me sweetly of my grandfather!), I would have asked him the meaning of life!