Prime tv: in New York with Woody Allen, on a rainy day

Despite the fullness of the summer heat wave, this week’s television programming promises us a cinematic journey into the translucent, rainy and bittersweet sentimental comedy of the penultimate film (previous to “Rifkin’s Festival”2020) by a great contemporary director, Woody Allen: with “A rainy day in New York”which will be aired on Friday 24 June, at 21.20, on Rai3, the director of Jewish origins returns to outline with the usual, witty irony, the portrait of a Big Apple attractive and repulsive at the same time, bright, eccentric and delightfully unpredictable.

In an interview with “El País”in 2019, to talk about his film “A rainy day in New York”When asked why he prefers rain to sun, Woody Allen replied: «Because the light is better. And because I believe that in those days people think more from their inner self, from their soul. Mine is a bit sad… and if I open the window in the morning and it’s sunny, it disturbs me. On the contrary, I find cities look beautiful in the rain. Paris, London, New York, San Sebastián are already beautiful, but if it rains they are magical. […] In my films, important things almost always happen when it rains. Even if we then complain that it is expensive to ride in the rain; especially because when I want to ride in the rain, it hardly ever rains and we have to do it artificially. Sometimes I ask God to do something, instead nothing, not even a cloud “.

With the usual irony, the 86-year-old New York director tells, in filigree, not only his personal inclination towards certain weather conditions, but also and above all his unconditional love for a city, New Yorkwho gave him birth (December 1, 1935) and who has splendidly sung in various films, from “Manhattan” (1979) a “Hannah and her sisters” (1989) and “Everyone says I love you” (1996, in which, in addition to the Big Apple, he stages the other two cities of the heart, Venice and Paris), up to “The wheel of wonders” (2017).


“A rainy day in New York” is yet another sentimental declaration – seasoned with tepid irony, nostalgia, translucent, melancholic, dreamy atmospheres Francis Scott Fitzgerald de “The Great Gatsby” (not surprisingly, this is also the name of the absent-minded student protagonist of the film) – by Allen for a place, as well as geographic, of the soul.

Thus New York becomes, for Woody and for his alter-ego Gatsby Welles (Timothée Chalamet) at the same time a reality, a season, a disturbing and disappointing memory at the same time, the lost past and the future yet to be built, in the acute awareness of the ending of things, of the passing of time, in the sweet memory of what is no longer .

Lost in a very rainy (in fact) and labyrinthine weekend in New York, Gatsby travels through the city where he was born, with the aim of introducing his girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) to his favorite places, the most characteristic corners, the ones they keep. the memory not only of childhood, but also of the mythical and roaring decades of jazz, elegant and smoky places, frequented by the beautiful world of art, writers and musicians. In their place, you will find a cleared memory, the discrepancy between reality and the imaginary, and more setbacks, unexpected events that will distance him from Ashley, who in turn is committed to recognizing the real city behind the one dreamed and made of glamor, luxuryprestigious professional occasions (see the multiple encounters, all disappointing and unsuccessful, with Roland Pollard- Liev Schreiber, his favorite director, whom he has to interview for the college newspaper; with screenwriter Ted Davidoff-Jude Law; and, finally, with star Francisco Vega -Diego Luna). L’bitter irony of the director towards the world of star-system it is fiercely implied.

Gatsby, for his part, tries some awkward approach with Shannon (Selena Gomez), the sister of an ex-girlfriend, ends up on the set of a film, has a hard confrontation (expressed with a magnificent sequence of fields-counter-fields) with his own mother, sings and plays on the piano, emblematically, “Everything Happens to Me”.

Eventually, both of them will realize that they have crossed the length and breadth of one inner spacemagical and unsuccessful at the same time, because it is profoundly different from what each of us experiences in everyday life.


“Nostalgia, this trap”concluded Woody Allen in the interview with “El País”. “Camus describes it as a seductive trap and I constantly fall into it, especially when I’m talking about New York. When I was a child it was a big city and I would say it was until the late 1950s. Then it started to modernize in a way that I don’t really like. New and ugly places take the place of old and delicious places, candy shops disappearing, traffic that has started to get chaotic and, after a while, a lot of crime. […] In short, New York was not like that. […] Fiction is much better than reality, there is no comparison. […] You can make the characters sad or happy, you can put on beautiful music, think about the effect it makes in “My Fair Lady”; instead in reality nothing is controlled. The protagonist of “The Purple Rose of Cairo” is much happier in fiction than in reality. Unfortunately, she can’t live in fiction or she’ll go crazy. You have to live in real life, which is tragic. If I could, I would be living in a Fred Astaire musical. Everyone is beautiful and fun, everyone drinks champagne, […] everyone is dancing; is fantastic”.

“A rainy day in New York” (A Rainy Day in New York)

Direction: Woody Allen

Origin: Usa, 2017-2019, 92 ‘

Film script: Woody Allen

Photography: Vittorio Storaro

Assembly:Alisa Lepselter

Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Selena Gomez, Liev Schreiber, Jude Law, Elle Fanning, Diego Luna

Production: Gravier Productions, Perdido Productions

Distribution: Lucky Red


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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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