• Dir: Woody Allen

  • USA, 1983, 79 mins, 35mm

  • Cast: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Patrick Horgan

Woody Allen plays Leonard Zelig in a mock-documentary about an eccentric (and fictitious) American character from the 1920s. Zelig is a misfit with a severe psychological and physiological disorder: in order to be liked and fit into a social group, Zelig is able to assume the physical appearance (and language abilities) of anyone he stands next to. Using ingenious technology, Allen inserts himself into actual black-and-white newsreel footage from the period to chronicle the rise and fall of this “human chameleon” – a man who becomes an instant celebrity, rubs elbows with prominent figures of the era, and falls in love with his psychiatrist (Mia Farrow). This compact comedy – punctuated with Allen’s usual one-liners – is brief in length but long on ideas, pulling in observations on politics, philosophy, art, and – of course – relationships.

#58 in BBC’s 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time -2017

4/11/2017 (Sat): Post-screening talk with Geoffrey Wong




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