Woody Allen Documentary Shows This Jewish Director Is One Strange Genius

'So much of what’s filtered out about me over the years has been completely mythological,' Allen tells the camera in a three-hour-plus documentary of his life.

A three-hour-plus documentary of Woody Allen's life is set to air in two parts as part of PBS’ American Masters series beginning Nov. 20.

Allen’s mystique has proven gripping for his legions of fans, who have faithfully followed his zigzagging mind through a prolific film career that has been variously comic, wacky, poignant, dark, charmingly romantic and almost ludicrously intelligent — all of which is on display in this biographical film. Nor does Allen’s neurotic self-effacement hold sway with the documentary’s producer, Robert Weide, best-known for his five-year stint as an executive producer and principal director of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

“The big thing with Woody was getting over the hump of him agreeing to do this in the first place,” Weide said during a phone interview. “That hesitation was about him feeling that he wasn’t an interesting subject — that’s how out of touch he is.”

The film frequently acknowledges, through Allen’s friends and colleagues, that he is one strange genius. Recalling Allen’s early career doing stand-up in the West Village, his manager, Charles Joffe, observes, “He could hardly talk to people, let alone perform for them. And some nights, he was godawful. But other nights, he was absolutely brilliant.”

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