Saturday, July 28, 2007

Since You asked

Who the Hell is Zelig?

"Zelig is a 1983 mockumentary movie written and directed by Woody Allen. ... The film is set in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. The title character, Leonard Zelig (played by Woody Allen), is a man who has the ability to change his appearance to that of the people he is surrounded by. For example, if he is among doctors, he transforms into a doctor, if around overweight people, he quickly becomes heavy himself. Zelig is called the "human chameleon". He is first noticed at a party by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Dr. Eudora Fletcher (Mia Farrow) is a psychiatrist who wants to help this man with this strange disorder, when he is admitted to her hospital. With the use of hypnotic techniques, she discovers that Zelig aims for approval, so he changes to fit in. Dr. Fletcher's determination allows her to eventually cure Zelig, but not without complications; on the road to recovery, Zelig temporarily develops a personality which is intolerant of other people's opinions.

Zelig used a very innovative and distinctive method to create the mockumentary feeling of this movie. For the film, Allen took real newsreel footage from the 1920s and 30s and inserted himself and other actors into the footage via bluescreen technology. To provide an authentic look to his scenes, Allen and his cinematographer used numerous techniques, including the arduous task of locating some of the actual antique film cameras and lenses used during the eras depicted in the film, and even went so far as to simulate damage, such as crinkles and scratches, on the negatives to make the finished product look more like vintage footage. The virtually seamless blending of old and new footage is highly notable in the fact that this was achieved almost a decade before digital filmmaking technology..."

*source Wikipedia


Collin said...

"Zelig" is one of those really quirky Allen films I had to watch a number of times to appreciate. I am in the middle of replacing all my VHS with DVD (it's been an ongoing process for four or five years) and I finally just purchased Stardust Memories, which I think is brilliant and one of Woody's most underrated films.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

This one has always been such an odd work - even for Allen. But, I've always liked it. A really great view.

Nick said...

Undoubtedly a very singular piece of visual art that in my mind supercedes pretty much everything else that Allen produced.