I’m told that Woody Allen‘s A Rainy Day in New York will not be announced as a Cannes Film Festival selection tomorrow morning. The reason, I gather, is not because festival honcho Thierry Fremaux didn’t want to show it, and not because Amazon didn’t want to provide a DCP, but because Allen and producer Letty Aronson (i.e., his sister) didn’t want the controversial attention.
Rather than stand up to the naysayers and Rainy Day costar Timothee Chalamet, who announced several weeks ago that he’s donating his salary for working on the film to a #TimesUp organization, Allen and Aronson have apparently opted out.
It may be that A Rainy Day in New York isn’t very good, in which case I would understand Allen’s reluctance to show it in Cannes. But at least a couple of not-all-that-great Allen films have screened in Cannes before (Irrational Man, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger) and so not showing Rainy Day is also, one could infer, about a lack of sterner stuff or certainly an instinct to avoid a turbulent episode.
Ducking and hiding in the midst of a persistent but highly questionable controversy (i.e., the Dylan Farrow allegation that was re-stated in a 12.7.17 L.A. Times op-ed piece, and the Robert Weide defense that was posted on 12.13) is a way of saying “whatever you guys want to believe or not believe is fine with me, but I’m not going to submit to a tabloid circus in Cannes in order to promote my latest film, however good or bad it might be…I just don’t want to get raked over the coals by the Cannes press corps about this whole matter once again so the hell with it…Amazon will probably release it with a minimum of fanfare but I’m moving on to my next film.”
As one insider put it, “Woody himself and his own team might not think that going to Cannes is the best idea at this particular moment.”
A pair of second-hand “insiders” have confided that nothing has been said about A Rainy Day in New York since earlier this year, and that “they’re already talking about working on the next one.” Duck and cover, avoid the heat, choose the path of least resistance, etc.
In mid March I wrote that “Woody’s films have played Cannes six or seven times over the last 15 years, and a booking of his most recent effort, which partly deals with an inappropriate-age-gap relationship between Jude Law and Elle Fanning, would be a way for festival topper Thierry Fremaux to not only honor a relationship with a still-important filmmaker but declare that Cannes is about cinematic art first and nervous-nelly politics second.”
Cannes may not be about nervous-nelly politics, but it’s certainly about avoidance as far as Allen is concerned.
I also wrote that Fremaux “has been inviting Woody to show his films at Cannes for many, many years, but he’s suddenly going to cut and run because Timothee Chalamet and other cast members might not attend the premiere at the Grand Lumiere? So what? Is this festival about artistic integrity or isn’t it?” Answer: It’s not really about artistic integrity, at least from Allen’s perspective. It’s about “let it go, Timothee Chalamet has a right to his opinion, on to the next, I don’t need the press grief,” etc.