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Manhattan

Gordon Willis in Person
Screening on Film
Directed by Woody Allen.
With Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Michael Murphy.
US, 1979, 35mm, black & white, 96 min.

Shot in black and white anamorphic widescreen, Willis’ lushly radiant cinematography transforms 1979 New York into a dreamlike fantasy city, albeit one filled with neurotic, terminally unsatisfied characters playing endless rounds of romantic roundelay. Woody Allen’s bittersweet valentine to his island hometown presents a deliriously romantic vision of the city tempered by an underlying sense of loss and pessimism about the ultimate futility of human relationships, a duality beautifully underscored by Willis’ brilliant camerawork, most famously in Manhattan’s iconic shot of Allen and Diane Keaton dwarfed by the vast architecture of the 59th Street Bridge.

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