|Directed by||Woody Allen|
|Written by||Woody Allen|
|Music by||Stephane Wrembel|
|Edited by||Alisa Lepselter|
|Box office||$1.8 million|
Rifkin's Festival is a 2020 comedy film, written and directed by Woody Allen. An American-Spanish-Italian co-production, it stars Wallace Shawn, Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon, Sergi López, and Christoph Waltz. It premiered at the San Sebastián International Film Festival on September 18, 2020, and was released in Spain on October 2, 2020 by Tripictures. A short plot summary appeared in The Guardian on September 4, 2019, stating: "The movie, Rifkin’s Festival, is about a couple who fall in love while in town for the San Sebastián film festival, drawing on the annual event as the backdrop to a romantic comedy."
This article needs an improved plot summary. (May 2021)
Mort Rifkin is an eccentric elderly film critic from New York who goes to a film festival in San Sebastian, Spain with his much younger wife Sue in order to present a film. Rifkin becomes jealous of his wife's rapport with a French director whose film stands to win the main prize. Their relationship often goes far beyond professional. Meanwhile, Rifkin himself gets attracted to a local resident, an unhappily married doctor whom Mort visited due to his hypochondria. The magic of the beautiful town in Spain, the romantic mood, and the prestigious world film festival draw Mort and his wife into a whirlpool of adventures and temptations, changing the couple's life forever.
Many scenes in the film showings Mort's inner thoughts and fantasies are parodies of a number of well-known masterpieces (Citizen Kane as well as films by Ingmar Bergman, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Federico Fellini, etc.) shot on the black-and-white film.
- Wallace Shawn as Mort Rifkin
- Cameron Hunter as Young Mort Rifkin
- Gina Gershon as Sue
- Christoph Waltz as Death
- Elena Anaya as Jo Rojas
- Louis Garrel as Philippe
- Sergi López as Paco
- Damian Chapa as Festivalgoer
- Bobby Slayton as Festivalgoer
- Douglas McGrath as Gil Brener
- Ken Appledorn as Cocktail Party Guest
- Richard Kind as Mort's Father
- Nathalie Poza as Mort's Mother
- Enrique Arce as Tomas Lopez
- Georgina Amorós as Delores
- Tammy Blanchard as Doris
- Iñigo Etxebeste as Host
- Steve Guttenberg as Jake
In February 2019, Amazon Studios dropped Allen from a five-picture deal to produce and finance films, following the revival of the sexual abuse allegations made against him in 1992. That month, it was announced Allen would write and direct the film, with Jaume Roures producing under his Mediapro banner. In June 2019, Gina Gershon, Christoph Waltz, Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Sergi López and Wallace Shawn joined the cast. In July 2020, Richard Kind announced he would appear in the film.
In April 2020, Tripictures acquired distribution rights to the film in Spain. It had its world premiere at the San Sebastián International Film Festival on September 18, 2020 and was released in Spain on October 2, 2020. It was previously scheduled to be released in Spain on September 25. It was scheduled to be released in Italy on November 5, 2020 by Vision Distribution, but it was postponed to May 6, 2021, due to the CoViD-19 pandemic.
Rifkin's Festival holds a 56% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 5.10/10. On Metacritic, it holds a weighted average score of 43 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Jonathan Romney of The Observer gave the film three stars out of five and stated, "In some ways, Rifkin’s Festival is absolutely familiar Allen territory, and, whatever else his detractors can or can’t accuse him of, there’s no way he’ll get off the charge of ploughing the same ground for the last couple of decades. Once again, he has made a brittle comedy about marital angst in a glamorous setting." Jessica Kiang of The New York Times commented, "So it’s a relief to report that “Rifkin’s Festival” is, to the ravenous captive, like finding an unexpected stash of dessert: not substantial and not nutritious, but sweet enough to remind you in passing of the good times you once had, despite all that’s happened in the interim." Guy Lodge of Variety added, "His 49th feature, “Rifkin’s Festival” is the latest in a lengthy string of undistinguished bagatelles that might all be described as effortless, and not in an especially complimentary fashion."
In a less favorable review, Kaleem Aftab of IndieWire gave the movie the C grade, writing, " There’s a strange meta quality to the way the movie drifts around, dipping in and out of a tepid plot. Of course, there’s no surprise here. Like a lot of recent Allen movies, it’s easy enough to figure out the intentions at hand early on." Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine gave the film one star out of four, noting "Decades into his iconic career, Woody Allen is still fixated on wannabe intellectual artists obsessively grappling with the meaninglessness of life as they have dalliances with much younger women who’re yearning for passion. That scenario was curdling into shtick some 40 years ago, but it at least felt personal to Allen in his salad days, when he was determined to fuse the existential agony of the films made by his heroes with his own scrappy, impertinent stand-up spirit. Now Allen is seemingly filming whatever writing spills from his typewriter, which is more often than not a copy of a copy of a copy of past hits, material so anachronistic and contrived that it feels closer to ritual than art."
|2021||8th Feroz Awards||Best Film Poster||Jordi Labanda||Won|||
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