AGE SHALL NOT WITHER THEM – FROM WOODY ALLEN TO ANDRZEJ WAJDA

20 Jun

sunshine cleaning

One of the secrets to longevity in the world of film is to keep working! It might sound obvious, but I came to this realisation as I was exiting Melbourne’s Nova Cinema earlier this week (Monday afternoon to be precise, when tickets before 4pm are the princely sum of just $6), having just seen the charming comedy-drama ‘Sunshine Cleaning’, directed by New Zealander Christine Jeffs.

I was musing to myself about the clever casting of two of today’s brightest young actresses, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as sisters, and filing away in my trivia drawer the fact that both their previous big screen successes had seen them starring opposite the indomitable Meryl Streep. Adams had received her second Oscar nomination (the first was for ‘Junebug’) earlier this year for her stellar work alongside Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the convent-set ‘Doubt’, and the talented British actress Blunt more than held her own in the frantic fashion world of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ alongside Streep and Anne Hathaway.

andrzej wadja

Andrzej Wajda

Anyway, checking what else was playing that day, maybe a double bill was on the cards as ‘Sunshine Cleaning’ comes in at a swift 91 minutes. Unfortunately, I was just too late to be able to easily pop into ‘Katyn’, directed by the exceptional Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda. With time on my hands I began to muse on Wajda’s remarkable career in film which began more than fifty years ago in his native Poland.

And thus was the idea born to look at how age is seemingly no barrier in the world of film direction.

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

I began by thinking about one of my favourite directors Woody Allen, still making a movie a year at the tender age of 74, and in the process assisting in gaining Oscar glory for Penelope Cruz in this year’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’. Allen’s recent career renaissance, which began with ‘Match Point’ in 2005, shows no sign of slowing down and I’m excitedly looking forward to his latest ‘Whatever Works’ starring Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David.

Another legendary workaholic is Clint Eastwood, who constantly amazes me with his work ethic. At 79 years of age he’s still making hugely successful films. In the last year alone we’ve seen him direct himself in Gran Torino which is now his biggest grossing film ever in a (directing) career stretching back to his 1971 debut with the thriller ‘Play Misty For Me’. Eastwood’s second recent film was the period mystery ‘Changeling’ which scored an Oscar nomination for star Angelina Jolie, and he shows no signs of slowing down as he’s currently putting the finishing touches to the post-apartheid ‘Invictus’ with Morgan Freeman as South African president Nelson Mandela.

clint eastwood

Just thinking about these guys is wearing me out, so I’m going to have a breather before taking a more in-depth look at the hardest working men and women in Hollywood and beyond, and how some of film’s best-loved directors don’t, and won’t, let age get in the way of their creative genius. Watch this space!

MIKE CHILDS

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