As part of the new Cigarette Burns series, Jesse Crall takes a look at Woody Allen’s 1992 film Husbands & Wives.
Presented as a study on marriage and coupling, a handheld docu-drama style makes Husbands & Wives an especially probing film. Jump cuts to Mia Farrow turning her head in silent anger are designed to make audiences feel like a voyeur spying through the windows. Directors have long held fascinations with film as a voyeuristic medium with Rear Window being a prime example. It’s incredible how riveting lives can seem when witnessed at inopportune times. I’ll ignore the masses of strangers until I catch fragments of a certain cell phone call meant to be private. For nearly a century, audiences have dropped in on the lives of characters to delve beyond the fragments and into compelling, life-changing conflicts and tragedy. The escapism enjoyed in Marvel-produced blockbusters isn’t that different from realist films dealing with collapsing relationships. Both film types let us experience rare dangers from the safety of our seats. Like a window, the screen lets us witness conflicts while keeping us separate from the lasting damage of divorce, discord, and explosions….
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