There is one way and only one way to respond to the soon-to-screen Venice Film Festival films by Woody Allen (Coup de Chance), Roman Polanski (The Palace) and Luc Besson (DogMan). And that way is this: Judge these three movies according to classic standards — how well do they work according to their own scheme and aesthetic? — and leave your 100% repulsive, nickle-and-dime woke moralizing out of it.

Many influential artists have lived problematic lives (however you want to define that), and nobody gives a shit about this when they’re staring at a Paul Gaugin painting in a museum, or watching Mel Gibson in the first two Mad Max films or in Peter Weir‘s The Year of Living Dangerously, or listening to the music of James Brown or Richard Wagner or considering the work of any other flawed creator.

It’s called “separating art from the artist”…period. There is no mature or realistic way of responding to art without doing this. You’re not a bad person for finding spiritual payoff and transcendence in art created by questionable artists, but you are a bad person when you insist on ostracizing and diminishing artists not for their work but for certain personal, private behaviors.

Talk about their moral failings all you want (it has been the HE position all along that the accusations against Allen are exceedingly flimsy and unreliable, and strongly contradicted by official investigations), but keep them in a separate box.

Oh, and on a personal note? Aside from the woke-nutter chorus (some of whom unfortunately reside in the HE comment threads), most sensible humans out there despise judgmental scolds. I’m speaking in this instance of tiresome people like THR‘s Scott Roxborough, Agence France-Presse editor Eric Randolph and French feminism activist Ursula Le Menn. Wokesters are the plague dogs of our time. They are proponents of Soviet-styled social propaganda and the absolute enemies of free thought and free cinema.

Anti-Woody Wokesters Turn It On,” posted on 2.16.21: In 2017 and ’18 a certain multi-word mantra began to get around in entertainment-related journalistic circles. The mantra was this: “Get with the woke Khmer Rouge program — embrace the notion that almost all straight white guys are evil or at least deplorable on some level, that people of color are blessed and need to be embraced and exalted every which way, and that the time has come for women who’ve been sexually harassed and/or discriminated against to be avenged — or forget about working as a front-line journalist.”

In short, the time had come for a little reverse discrimination against white males. Was this viewpoint justified? Yes, they insisted — absolutely, abundantly and to hell with due process. Bully boys in powerful positions had earned this enmity for centuries, and now the tables had turned and a lot of powerfully corroded whiteys were hauled before courts (legal as well as Twitter-verse) and the general tone turned to one of condemnation and retribution.

Fairly or unfairly, the message was clear to every seasoned, semi-verified or would-be journalist or critic: talk the talk and walk the walk, or you won’t survive in this industry. Because a revolutionary mind wave, driven by Donald Trump nausea and Harvey Weinstein-esque repulsion, is spreading throughout liberal professions, and those who fail to sign on with enthusiasm will…uhm, have a difficult time of it.

My first significant taste of Khmer Rouge hysteria happened in the fall of ’17, as I was on my way to the Key West Film Festival. Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich shrieked like a p.c. banshee when I tweeted to Jessica Chastain that an aspiring film critic not only needs to be talented, tenacious and willing to eat shit, but that it would “help” if he/she is “fetching.” Ehrlich was appalled that anyone would even suggest that an attractive appearance might have something to do with how you’re received in mixed company or by potential employers. I called him a delusional little bitch, of course. 18 months later Bill Maher set him straight.

All to say that when it comes to reviewing Allen vs. Farrow, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering‘s four-part Woody Allen hatchet-job doc which totally pushes the Dylan-and-Mia view of things, there’s no way for critics in the employ of Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Indiewire and the Daily Beast to say anything except “hmmm, yeah, maybe, food for thought, who knows?, Allen is toast anyway and he’s probably guilty of what Dylan has long claimed, and this four-part investigation sure makes him look like the devil so he probably is.”

Do we all understand the basic dynamic? These critics are simply not allowed to disagree with the Mia-Dylan case or or quote from Moses Farrow‘s essay (“A Son Speaks Out“) or point out the Woody-exonerating facts. If they divert from the party line, they’ll be in trouble and they know it.

I haven’t seen Allen vs. Farrow (it premieres on HBO Max this weekend) but the hanging-judge reviews by Indiewire‘s Ben Travers and the Daily Beast‘s Marlow Stern speak for themselves. These guys were clearly wokester Woody haters before they watched the series. Then again the THR and Variety reviews don’t really come up for air either.

HE’s overwhelming impression is that the Dick-Ziering doc is a one-sided hatchet job. Elite wokester journas, to repeat, are so sold on and submerged within the faith of #MeToo deliverance and historical righteousness (which, on its own terms, is not disputed in the slightest by HE) that there’s only one way to review this four-part doc, and that’s by ignoring the facts and dismissing Woody’s denials and and Moses Farrow’s account of Mia’s psychology and behavior and what happened up at Frog Hollow on that day in August of ‘92. Haters are gonna hate. Deniers are gonna deny.

World of Reel‘s Jordan Ruimy: “Are you surprised by this? Imagine if a trade like THR or IndieWire would actually go against the grain and flat out say ‘this documentary is bullshit‘ and ‘it neglects facts and is one-sided”…the backlash would be so overwhelming that there would be calls for the writer to be fired. It’s fucking sad. Unless you operate your own site you’re basically committing career harakiri if you side against woke and #MeToo narratives.”