Real life is for those who cannot do better.
(A Rainy Day In New York)
For the ancient Greek world, the last matters were the complete ones, the perfect ones, more full of meaning. The telos appears not only as the ultimate goal but as the inner meaning of things, their essential nature that leads the archè, the principle of appearing, to its complete realization.
Woody himself has repeatedly recalled the Greek tragicomic sense as in Mighty Aphrodite and Match Point. In his last work, we can grasp the conclusion of a long artistic journey. A conclusion in the Greek sense, because it is a film that is absolutely clean and lucid in its clear structure and in its complete and coherent form. We can compare it to a simple arabesque, to a music in which the counterpoint is very close between two themes and then expands and moves away until it leaves room for a new theme that comes close to the first and with which it eventually overlaps. There is no trace of the neurotic and chaotic Woody, nor of the inconclusive and schizophrenic New York of many of his films.
Could there still be a myth of New York when we no longer have its greatest narrator? What faces will he still be able to take on after this completely new one of an intimate, rainy, ideal New York? In this work, Woody's "baroque" instance, with its cult of asymmetry and chance, finds a perfect and new balance with its sentimental and ideal soul, often veiled, repressed, hidden, masked, misunderstood, "played on the bank" within the existential whirlpool of postmodernity, here staged for the first time in a flat, direct, transparent, monistic way.
A film based on a classical mechanics of elective affinities, concordances and discordances of monads, where the central concept is that of recognition and revelation of nature in the work. It is not possible to grasp the differences between the narrative fabric, the structure and the semantic-hermeneutical cycle. We are faced with a unitary and united work, undivided. Gatsby follows his girlfriend Ashleigh to New York to accompany her for an important interview with a famous director she has to carry out for her college newspaper (based in a small town in Arizona). Already at the beginning there is all the differential dynamics that will evolve until the final deflagration and resolution: Gatsby's New York is opposed to the New York not known but already loved by Ashleigh: celebrities and the jet set versus the Metropolis of piano bars, classical songs, retro clubs. Two different rhythms and two different imprints whose distance will grow progressively. Ashleigh first meets the Metropolis, which will take her away from her boyfriend with its fragile and hysterical personalities, the absence of references within the social-massmedial recitation that empties and massifies every interiority. Knowing it first, she is prevented from knowing and appreciating the other NY, the inner, poetic one, made of details and special places, which requires a different rhythm.
A remarkable difference between the "use" of the Metropolis in its social myth (Ashleigh) and its discovery in the musical and lyrical aspects of its myth in Gasby who seeks his own music and who knows how to listen to it. Ashleigh, on the other hand, is looking for an adventure to take home and enjoys acting herself in a global performance. Recognition as a gradual process goes through him but not her who remains herself and therefore attracts, in her crude innocence, those who are prisoners of roles and fiction.
Worn actors who give in to those who worship them because they do not believe in themselves. Ashleigh doesn't evolve as much as Shannon, who has always loved Gatsby. It is no coincidence that it is an emblematic, symbolic context that they find themselves on a film set improvised by a mutual friend and "have" to kiss each other as if only inside and through fiction they can reveal their need. Shannon leaves room for Gatsby to regain the myth of his city, while playing and singing, while she listens to him in silence, she is an anti Muse. It will be the discovery of the secret of his mother's life that will free Gatsby from any desire to return to Arizona and this happens during one night when the young man gambles victoriously but almost over-thinking, as if poker were a form of bellows, of investigation into destiny. She sinks into the vast surface of the NY that plays itself while he becomes a solitary ascetic of a NY that reveals itself to a few accomplices, anti-theatrical, it still asks to be loved, believed, incorporated, in a way that is always new and always original.
Another enlightening phase shift when they leave during the most romantic performance: the carriage ride around Central Park, where the inner fiction does not stand up to the outer fiction! And so in front of an old and fascinating clock in Central Park the two forgotten lovers meet again. The other couple who recognize themselves in history, both the Anteros of the other, embodying the fulfillment of feeling in concordance with time and space. One last Kairos that appears just as it starts to rain again. It is a supremely classical, Greek and clear work where the "different beat” of the heart and its need for recognition dance and play together.