Rifkin’s Festival

A film by Woody Allen. In English with German subtitles.

[Credits] [Tickets & Termine] [Trailer]

Mort Rifkin, a snob­by elder­ly film cri­tic from New York[dis­am­bi­gua­ti­on nee­ded], is tel­ling his the­ra­pist about the recent deve­lo­p­ments in his life. In the recount, he’s accom­pany­ing his much youn­ger wife Sue to a film fes­ti­val in San Sebastián. She works as a press agent for Philippe, a French direc­tor who­se banal and deri­va­ti­ve anti-war film is being uni­ver­sal­ly cele­bra­ted as a mas­ter­pie­ce, to Mort’s chag­rin. Mort quick­ly beco­mes jea­lous of Sue and Philippe’s rela­ti­onship, which incre­asing­ly moves into open flir­ta­ti­on. Mort’s inner thoughts and fears cau­ses him to have night­ma­res inspi­red by well-known black and white cine­ma­tic clas­sics like Citizen Kane, Breathless, Jules and Jim, Persona, The Exterminating Angel, and .

While at the fes­ti­val, Mort remi­nis­ces about his life and the pre­ten­tious novel that he’s been wri­ting for deca­des, try­ing to achie­ve a lite­ra­ry rele­van­ce that elu­des him. He reflects upon his youn­ger years when he used to teach cine­ma at the uni­ver­si­ty and felt hap­py and sti­mu­la­ted. Meanwhile, he’s hel­p­less to keep Sue and Philippe from spen­ding time with each other. Eventually, he seeks medi­cal advice about some chest pains and meets Joanna „Jo” Rojas, a Spanish doc­tor who spent some time in New York and is now unhap­pi­ly mar­ried with an unfaithful, tem­pe­ra­men­tal artist. Joanna lea­ves a las­ting impres­si­on on Mort and he repea­ted­ly tri­es to enga­ge her atten­ti­on by faking health issues. Eventually, the two go on a sight-see­ing dri­ve through the sur­roun­ding coun­try, both having a good time in the process.

On their way back to town, a flat tire forces Joanna and Mort to hitch­hi­ke back to Joanna’s home, whe­re she dis­co­vers her hus­band chea­ting on her with one of his models. The two have a bit­ter fight, then Joanna takes Mort back to his hotel. Here, Sue con­fronts Mort about their dete­rio­ra­ting rela­ti­onship, even­tual­ly announ­cing she’s lea­ving him to start a new life with Philippe. The next mor­ning, Mort calls Joanna, hoping to see her again befo­re he has to return to New York, but she poli­te­ly decli­nes, despi­te har­bor­ing some affec­tion for Mort and doubts about her own mar­ria­ge’s toxicity.

Finally, Mort ima­gi­nes hims­elf play­ing chess with Death in a paro­dy of Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film The Seventh Seal. Death tells him that human life is ulti­m­ate­ly meanin­g­less, but does­n’t need to be emp­ty. In a par­ting word of advice, Death tells Mort that he will see him again in the future, but Mort might win some extra time by making sure to exer­cise and to avo­id pro­ces­sed foods. As the fes­ti­val rea­ches its clo­sing day, Mort reflects upon his chan­ged cir­cum­s­tances, pon­de­ring to go back to be a tea­cher, this time with a less rigid atti­tu­de towards art. Back in New York, he asks his the­ra­pist what he should do now.


ES/US/IT 2020, 92 Min., engl. OmU,
Regie: Woody Allen
Kamera: Vittorio Storaro
Schnitt: Alisa Lepselter
mit: Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon, Sergi López, Wallace Shawn, Christoph Waltz

RIFKIN’S FESTIVAL | Offizieller Trailer | Deutsch
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