Stardust Memories (1980)

“You can’t control life. It doesn’t wind up perfectly … Only art you can control. Art and masturbation. Two areas in which I am an absolute expert.” Woody Allen’s homage (or blatant rip off, take your pick) to Fellini’s 8 1/2, showcases a weekend in the life of “Sandy Bates” (Allen), a burnt-out filmmaker saddled with a neurotic girlfriend named “Dorrie” (Charlotte Rampling). Attending a retrospective of his films, Bates is stalked by weird-looking fans wherever he goes. I especially like the fan who introduces her friend who “just did a definitive cinematic study of Gummo Marx … the one Marx brother who never made any movies.” Another creepy fan confronts Bates with his idea for a movie, “a comedy based on the whole Guyana mass suicide.” Hot-air balloons are mistaken for aliens from another planet who advise Bates to make better films “like his early funny ones.” Tony Roberts (“Tony”), Jessica Harper (“Daisy”) and Marie-Christine Barrault (“Isobel”) round out the cast. Look briefly for a stunning Sharon Stone in her first role as “Pretty Girl on Train.” Stardust Memories opened to mostly negative reviews (Variety called it “a truly mean-spirited picture”) but has aged well over the years. The black-and-white film features a great soundtrack that includes “Stardust” sung by Louis Armstrong. Allen once remarked, “The best film I ever did, really, was Stardust Memories . . . It was my least popular film. That may automatically mean it was my best film . . .”

Leave a Reply

Close Menu