The Deauville American Film Festival has set Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day In New York as its opening night movie on September 6. The French premiere is the highest-profile showcase the title will have had to date. It was previously shelved by Amazon in the U.S., which also nixed a four-film deal with Allen, citing comments the director made about the #MeToo movement. Allen then brought a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the streamer. The Deauville fest selection of the Oscar winning filmmaker’s latest may stoke further debate– but maybe not in France.
A Rainy Day In New York, which we hear is very good, stars Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning as a young couple whose weekend get-away turns into a succession of fortuitous encounters and unusual situations. Letty Aronson’s Gravier Productions produces.
Allen is among the pantheon of cherished auteurs in this country, having enjoyed great critical and commercial success. And so far, word of Deauville’s inclusion of A Rainy Day In New York has not been met with the kind of response one might expect elsewhere in today’s climate. Le Figaro wrote earlier this year, “Since the end of 2017, Woody Allen has become a pariah in the United States and found a plank of salvation in Europe.” His latest film, Rivkin’s Festival, has been shooting in Spain.
However, it is notable that Allen’s last film, Wonder Wheel, sold under 400K tickets when it was released in France in January 2018, resulting in one of his poorest performances ever and despite positive critical and audience scores locally. This was shortly after allegations of sexual assault against the filmmaker were reasserted by his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow (Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations and has never been charged). At the time, his French distributor, Stéphane Célérier of Mars Films, wrote in an editorial that he was “stunned by the unspooling of hate that the Woody Allen affair has provoked, particularly in the U.S. and on social networks.”
Mars Films will also release A Rainy Day In New York locally, on September 18. France is the first major market to go while multiple European distributors have acquired the film and are lining up releases this year. Still, a number of Allen’s recent collaborators, including A Rainy Day In New York’s Chalamet, have publicly distanced themselves from the director. Others have defended him, including Gina Gershon who stars in Rivkin’s Festival.
In announcing A Rainy Day In New York, Deauville said the film “crystallizes once again the dreams and neuroses of Allen-ian heroes in a crossover brimming with charm.” This is the 8th film from the director to land a slot in Deauville, a festival that highlights a handful of Hollywood titles which have generally premiered elsewhere, as well as a selection of independent U.S. films that compete in the main section.