Directed by: Barbara Kopple | 105 minutes | music, documentary | Featuring: Woody Allen, Soon-Yi Previn, Letty Aronson, Dan Barrett, Simon Wettenhall, John Gill, Greg Cohen, Cynthia Sayer, Eddy Davis, Nettie Konigsberg, Martin Konigsberg, John Doumanian
In addition to his love for film, Woody Allen also has a great passion for music. In his youth he listened a lot to the radio, and the music that belongs to that period is jazz. New Orleans is the cradle of jazz and therefore, according to Allen, also the place where real jazz is played. In his spare time he plays in a New Orleans Jazz Band. In the documentary “Wild Man Blues”, we follow him as he tours Europe with his band.
“Wild Man Blues” shows Allen when he’s not working on a movie and it’s quite nice to see the “real” Allen once, although it doesn’t seem to differ much from the characters in his movies. It must be said right away that if you are not a fan of Allen, this documentary is not for you. Allen and his fellow musicians are not The Rolling Stones or Madonna and there are no misbehaviors, spectacular performances and hordes of screaming fans.
Just like in the average Allen film, there is a lot of talking and grumbling. The documentary is therefore full of typical Allen statements. The music also plays a major role, but here too it is fun for fans of the jazz genre to watch, but for people who have nothing to do with this music these performances are rather tame. Do not expect fireworks or remarkable statements from the controversial relationship between Allen and Soon Yi, they mainly walk quietly hand in hand across the street or Soon Yi occasionally gives her opinion about a thing or two.
A very nice scene in “Wild Man Blues” is when Allen visits his ancient parents who actually still would prefer that he had become a pharmacist and just married a neat Jewish girl. “Wild Man Blues” is a documentary that is really only fun for fans of Woody Allen, if you do not like his films you will not like it.