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A Woody Allen Dysfunctional Family Classics For The Holidays

HANNAH AND HER SISTERSHANNAH AND HER SISTERS 

Friday, December 14---------Leave it to the good taste and the subversive spirit of the Film Forum to resurrect Woody Allen's dysfunctional family comedy classic HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, just in time for our own familial crises for the Hannukah and Christmas holidays. Woody got it so right in this tale of three sisters (the sublime Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey and Oscar-winner Dianne Wiest) who can't help but compare their professional and personal lives in a case of sorority sister sibling rivalry. Hannah (Farrow) is the successful actress with the great marriage (currently to Michael Caine, also an Oscar winner in this film) and the "classic six" apartment on New York's Upper West Side. Hershey is the downtown diva living with a personality-challenged painter many years her senior (the great Max von Sydow) and Wiest is all over the map, as a woman in her thirties who still has not decided what to be when she grows up.

They are the spawn of two vaudevillian parents (Lloyd Nolan and Margaret O'Sullivan, Farrow's real mother) who have long since moved on from intimacy to bickering in a relationship that colors the relationships of their daughters. Allen is the television producer shnook formerly married to Farrow who battles hypochondria and existential angst so severe he contemplates Catholicism in a desperate search for answers to the ultimate questions. That the Allen character ends up with Wiest's high-flying neurotic is just one of the many unexpected twists in what is arguably Allen's most humanistic and forgiving work. And for those who share Allen's love of his native New York, the film is a valentine to the city, with a virtuostic tour of the city's most picturesque neighborhoods. For Allen, who underneath all the nihilism and cynicism is a true romantic of the old school, this a marvelous ode to love, life and the promise that still exists on the overpriced streets of Manhattan island.

HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, which was nominated for 7 Oscars and won three (for Allen's original screenplay and for the supporting turns by Wiest and Caine). It is being shown at the Film Forum for only one week, so Allen afficianados should pounce. For more information, schedule and to buy tickets, log on to: www.filmforum.org

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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