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SWEET AND LOWDOWN (1999) - VHS
 

SWEET AND LOWDOWN (1999) - VHS

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Actors: Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Woody Allen, Ben Duncan, Daniel Okrent
Directors: Woody Allen
Writers: Woody Allen
Producers: Charles H. Joffe, J.E. Beaucaire, Jack Rollins, Jean Doumanian, Letty Aronson. Sean Penn, in cream-colored suits and matching hat, a cigarette dangling from his lips, gives one of the best performances ever seen in a Woody Allen film. He plays Emmet Ray, the notorious (and made-up) jazz guitarist from the thirties, a great artist who was also a worm and a loser. Emmet handles his instrument almost as well as his idol Django Reinhardt, but he's the victim of his own neuroses and obsessions. His not knowing himself at all is turned into a joke, but it's also played for pathos-incomprehension is Emmet's soulfulness, mysteriously linked to his elegant playing. The picture is made up of short vignettes framed by "memories" of Emmet spoken by various experts, including Allen himself, and the entire movie is caught in the loving grip of jazz-world nostalgia, with its stylized glamour of thirties clothes and cars-the tawdry life on the road, in which the greatest art was made on the run. With the English actress Samantha Morton, hatted and crumpet-faced, her body hidden in a shapeless dress, as the mute girl who falls for Emmet. Golden-hued cinematography by Zhao Fei. The contemporary guitarists Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli do the playing. In all, one of Allen's finest achievements. -David Denby
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker. Tape in very good condition.
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