Everything you always wanted to know about Woody

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The Independent Culture

Woody Allen is to give the first public question-and- answer session on his films in Britain after years of requests and has chosen his 10 favourite movies to mark the occasion.

The interview at the National Film Theatre in London at the end of the month will take place after his film The Curse of the Jade Scorpion has premièred at the Venice Film Festival. Advance booking does not open until next week, but the whispers among movie buffs have produced a postbag that already proves the interview will be the most popular at the South Bank film venue for at least a decade.

A spokesman said the organisation was thrilled to welcome Allen to the NFT, which will screen his new movie. The event will be accompanied by a short season of the 10 films Allen has chosen as his favourites. The list includes three by Ingmar Bergman, two by Jean Renoir, two by Federico Fellini and two by Vittorio de Sica. Rashomon by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa completes the list, which makes clear the influences that have haunted his own movies for decades.

Geoff Andrew, the NFT's programmer who will interview Allen on 27 September, said the list was interesting in showing the director's admiration for the traditional art-house movie of the 1950s and 1960s. The earliest film is Renoir's La Grande Illusion, which dates from 1937 and was banned by Mussolini and Hitler for its depiction of male friendship during the First World War. The most recent film on the list is Fellini's Amarcord, from 1973, a partly autobiographical account of the Italian director's childhood.

Mr Andrew said: "It doesn't mean that Woody Allen doesn't like more recent films but his taste is quite classical. That's something you could have expected, given the obvious homages in some of his films to people like Bergman and Renoir – in serious films like Interiors but even in comedies like Deconstructing Harry." Wild Strawberries, a 1957 film by Bergman, was an influence on Deconstructing Harry.

Although Mr Andrew has interviewed Allen before, this was a special event. "It's his first live performance before an audience in Britain. I think he may have done a couple of things like this in the States but it's a first for Britain."

The National Film Theatre has been asking Allen to do such an event for years. He finally said yes partly because he was already in Europe for the Venice Film Festival.

Allen's top ten

The Seventh Seal

Director: Ingmar Bergman, 1957

Wild Strawberries

Director: Ingmar Bergman, 1957

Rashomon

Director: Akiro Kurosawa, 1951

Cries and Whispers

Director: Ingmar Bergman, 1972

Bicycle Thieves

Director: Vittorio de Sica, 1948

La Grande Illusion

Director: Jean Renoir, 1937

81/2

Director: Federico Fellini, 1963

Shoeshine

Director: Vittorio de Sica, 1946

La Règle du Jeu

Director: Jean Renoir, 1939

Amarcord

Director: Federico Fellini, 1973

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