Diving into Woody Allen’s Career and Historic Locations

After last week’s Pecha Kucha presentation, I quickly realized that time management and planning were even more important these next six weeks then I realized with my Woody Allen map project. I really enjoyed the critiques I received from our guest panel, and found their comments to be useful involving the ideas of how New York based films can develop hyperealities for people who do not live in NYC and how they think the city is because the fantasy that cinema can create. I also loved the idea about going away from too much of a celebrity aspect with my project and diving more into the present day citizen’s personas and true environment of the neighborhoods and areas surrounding certain landmarks I choose to highlight from Allen’s films.

This all being said, I still want to use Woody Allen as a catalyst for my project and then interpret these ideas in the current research framework I am doing on Allen, his film career, personal life, and his profound influence on cinema made in New York. This past week has been very successful in regards to getting a solid knowledge on Woody Allen and film locations he has used around the city.

I viewed six films over the weekend and found multiple historic landmarks and areas I can map that were part of a significant film scenes Allen fans would instantly recognize. I plan on watching 3-5 more films this week and then once all of my selected landmarks are documented I will dive into their general history in the city, as well as their history in the film genre. By doing this historic research I hope to find examples of hyperreality in film by documenting how these landmarks are portrayed in cinema compared to historic images of how they actually look throughout the years.

This past week I also read two excellent resources from cover to cover that provided me with knowledge on Woody Allen’s childhood and career, as well as terrific quotes from Allen about the concepts behind a majority of his films and his opinions on multiple actors he has chosen to work with. These two resources were:

  • John Baxter’s Woody Allen: A Biography
  • Richard Schnickel’s Woody Allen: A Life in Film

During these readings I also found because of my previous educational experience involving film theory a few examples of respected theories Allen showcased in his films (intentionally or not) that I could use for a more academic layer. For example:

  • Jacques Lacan’s Mirror Theory and Christian Metz’s ideas on Scopophilia in film directly relating to Mia Farrow’s character in The Purple Rose of Cairo and her fascination with the man on the screen.
  • There are numerous examples, which correlate to Laura Mullvey’s theory involving women as the pleasurable escape object for viewers in Allen films such as Bananas or Bullets Over Broadway.

I hope to find at least 3-5 more film theories present in the selected films in order to establish a solid layer involved with film cinema that can continue to be developed by other URT users and myself after the semester is over. Even though these theories might not directly involve the effects cinema has had on NYC and vice versa, because the spatial orientation is being laid by my other entities this information will provide a more academic premise to my research.

Below is a rough outline of how I hope to set up my Data Model on the URT System:


  • Woody Allen Film Landmarks and Neighborhoods
  • Film Synopses
  • Woody Allen Biography


  • Actor Biographies
  • Landmark/neighborhood histories (hyperrealities identified)
  • Film Theorists and Theories (possible entity depending on amount of information)
  • Film Dates (when produced and when released)
  • Film Gross
  • Audio Recordings of Allen
  • Film Scenes and Trailers
  • Texts Discussing overall importance of film in New York

One comment

  1. I’m glad you found the critiques useful, J.J.

    You mentioned that you’re looking for additional theories to inform your arguments; I’d encourage you to look into some of the theory on the “cinematic city” — how films create urban personas, construct place-based identities (particularly for people who don’t live there), etc. This research is highly relevant to your project! I think my response to your original project proposal included a few potentially useful resources.

    And in regard to your data model: each of your entities would of course have its own model. I’m guessing your list of layers is comprehensive; you’ll obviously need to figure out which of these layers will be attached to the “film” entity, which to the landmark/neighborhood entity (which would require two different forms of spatial representation — a point for a landmark, and an area for a neighborhood), etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *