I have very much enjoyed some Woody Allen movies. I feel safe with him, his humour, his gentle poking of fun at pretentiousness coupled with his respect for the creative spirit and his pity for the artistic yearnings that are no respecter of the lack of ability to fulfil them.
One of my favourite movies is Allen's Interiors, because it contained such a perceptive portrait of the most tragic member of an artistic family, the one who has as much creative angst as the rest of them, but none of the talent.
In Vicky Cristina Barcelona we also see a seemingly hopeless search for creative expression at any cost, but I thought Allen's touch was lighter this time, and he leaves his characters with their mystery and their possibility for growth.
I just loved Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It was funny and beautiful. The tongue in cheek is never cruel. Is it bi-curious voyeurism? or just a grown-up comedy of manners? I didn't take it seriously enough to even care. Woody Allen's detractors portray him as a leering dirty old man - but while watching this movie I didn't feel invited into his head. The rich sensuality of the love scenes qualify this film as a high class chick flick. And the smooth seductions the tourists fall prey to, are artfully analysed.
Having run screaming from academia myself, I also appreciated the spoof on the bloodlessness of the sterile intellecual dissection of blood-filled messy topics.
The art/photography theme, with a wonderful dark room scene, reminded me of Patricia Rozema's dazzling classic I've Heard the Mermaids Sing.
Barcelona isn't as perfect as Mermaids (which I really want to see again soon) but it's pretty damn good, and makes for a pleasant summer holiday movie, with a touch of travelogue thrown in.
I feel like I have been on a Gaudi sightseeing tour too, especially after having seen the TV doco Liquid Stone about Gaudi, just a few days ago.