GlobalThe Venice Film Festival shows its support for Woody Allen

The Venice Film Festival shows its support for Woody Allen

The 87-year-old filmmaker received a triumphant welcome in Venice, with a standing ovation upon his arrival at his press conference and loud applause after the screening of his latest film. It is that, despite the controversy (linked to the accusations of his ex-wife Mia Farrow, relayed by the HBO documentary Allen v. Farrow, who accuses him of having abused their 7-year-old adopted daughter Dylan), the old filmmaker, who will probably no longer make films in the United States, can count on the support of Europe. As evidenced by this 50th film since Lily the Tigress in 1966.

The New Yorker has been producing his films in Europe for many years, from Spain (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) to Italy (To Rome with Love), via Great Britain (Match Point) and France (Midnight in Paris). Stroke of luck is, this time, his first film shot entirely in French.

Thriller between Paris and the countryside

Stroke of luck depicts the reunion, by chance on Avenue Montagne in Paris, of Fanny (Lou de Laage) and Alain (Niels Schneider), who met at the French high school in New York. He became a novelist, she gave up her literary ideals to marry Jean (Melvil Poupaud), a businessman in troubled waters. Faced with this forgotten figure resurfacing from the past, the young woman feels revived. Tired of being her husband’s trophy wife, she is more sensitive to the charm of this ghost of the past, who promises her Bohemia under the roofs of Paris, who contrasts with her husband’s hunting parties and boring friends. … Which increasingly suspects his young wife of cheating on him…

Surfing on the theme of chance and coincidences, Stroke of luck is not the worst Woody Allen of recent years, far from it. The fact remains that the thriller, quite mechanical, probably does not deserve the triumph it received in Venice.

Melvil Poupaud and Lou de Laâge, an a priori ideal couple in “Coup de chance” by Woody Allen. ©Biennale

A lazy movie

This pleasant marivaudage on a thriller background benefits from the performance of Melvil Poupaud, disturbing as an all-powerful and jealous husband (in a similar role, but much less intense, than in the recent Love and forests by Valérie Donzelli, after Éric Reinhardt). If Niels Schneider does rather well in the role of the romantic lover, Lou de Laagence (seen in White as snow by Anne Fontaine or Black Box by Yann Gozlan) is a bit fair in that of the young woman torn between the comfort of an extravagant material life and her romantic aspirations.

Charming, lively and witty, but ultimately quite lazy, Stroke of luck does not look out of place in the recent filmography of Woody Allen. But comedy remains well below his major films, which definitely seem behind him… The last being Blue Jasmine in 2013, which had earned Cate Blanchett the Oscar for best actress and which already criticized (but in a more subtle way) frenzied capitalism and the behavior of the ultra-rich…

Niels Schneidet and Lou de Laagence in "Stroke of luck"Woody Allen's 50th film.
Niels Schneidet and Lou de Laage in “Coup de chance”, Woody Allen’s 50th film. ©Biennale

Stroke of luck Thriller Screenplay and direction Woody Allen Photography Vittorio Storaro Assembly Alisa Lepselter With Lou de Laage, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Schneider, Valerie Lemercier… Duration 1h33

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