Woody Allen, Reputation Bruised, Finds Muted Reception to 50th Sinema

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This weekend, 13 movie theaters around the country will be showing “Coup de Chance,” a brisk French-language thriller about a bored wife in Paris who cheats on her wealthy, aloof husband with an old high school classmate, triggering fatal consequences.

Minus the opening credits and certain trademark elements — jazzy score, moneyed setting, themes of murder and luck, dry cosmopolitan banter — a typical viewer could watch the movie without knowing it is the 50th film directed by Woody Allen.

The foreign language (one in which Allen is not fluent — his original script was translated for filming), the absence of the kinds of American stars that typically crowd Allen’s casts, the low-key reception with which this milestone has been greeted: All suggest the awkwardness surrounding this new release by a filmmaker as distinctive as he is polarizing.

“We just continue to do what we’ve been doing, and we’re happy that it’s opening,” Letty Aronson, Allen’s sister, who has produced his films since 1994, said in an interview this week. She said “Coup de Chance” was financed in Europe, and declined to disclose its backers.

“I’m happy that it’s opening,” she added. “Woody is only interested in the creative part — once that’s done and he makes the film, he never sees it again. If you told him it wasn’t opening in the United States, it wouldn’t matter to him.”

Allen, 88, has a more than half-century career as a writer and director of influential classics such as “Annie Hall” (1977) and “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989). A late period commencing with 2005’s “Match Point” has featured collaborations with stars like Scarlett Johansson, Timothée Chalamet and Cate Blanchett, who won an Oscar for “Blue Jasmine” (2013). Allen’s 2011 comedy “Midnight in Paris” brought him his fourth Oscar, for original screenplay, and took in more than $150 million worldwide — a megahit by the standards of independent cinema.

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