Zelig / Get the Script to Woody Allen

Wednesday, August 15 – 7:30 pm
USA 1983. Director: Woody Allen
Cast: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Ellen Garrison, Mary Louise Wilson, Sol Lomita, Stephanie Farrow, Garrett Brown, Marianne Tatum

Woody Allen’s fictional documentary in the key of Spinal Tap concerns “human chameleon” Leonard Zelig (Allen), a colourless man who becomes a celebrity phenomenon in the 1920s and 30s due to his unique ability to completely change his physical appearance to look like those around him. In what was an astonishing bit of technical innovation for its time, the film seamlessly inserts Allen into actual newsreel footage of historical events; we observe Zelig batting in the New York Yankees line-up after Babe Ruth, meeting U.S. presidents, playing in an all-black jazz band, and, most famously, standing conspicuously behind Adolph Hitler at a Nazi rally. The mock-doc chronicles the general public’s fascination with this outrageous phenomenon — songs, dance crazes and even earmuffs are named after Zelig — and the efforts of Dr. Eudora Fletcher (Mia Farrow) to cure him. Determining that Zelig’s desire to transform himself is rooted in an unhappy childhood, she uses groundbreaking hypnotherapy techniques to try and break through to the “real” man inside. “Leonard Zelig is Woody Allen’s most brilliant, most inspired fictional creation, and the movie that contains him is the writer-director-actor’s most brilliant work” (Vincent Canby, New York Times). B&W and colour, DVD. 79 mins.

preceded by

Get the Script to Woody Allen

USA 2003. Director: Steve Marshall

Written by and starring Keith Black, Get the Script to Woody Allen is based on an actual incident in which Black, a Brooklyn schoolteacher, tracked down his idol at a Manhattan jazz club and slipped him the script of I Will Survive, a screenplay based on Black’s troubles with women. The famed director took the script, smiled meekly, and trotted off. That was several years ago. Mr. Allen has yet to call. Colour, 35 mm, 17 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Dr. Harry Karlinsky, Director of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. Dr. Karlinsky is particularly interested in the clinical and educational applications of film in the field of mental health.

Moderated by Caroline Coutts, a film curator and filmmaker who has been the programmer of the “Frames of Mind” monthly mental health film series since its inception in September 2002.