No Way to Say “Manhattan”

The other day, I was in the mood to enjoy Woody Allen, and there’s no better way to enjoy him than Manhattan.

There’s so much to love about this movie, and the opening sequence, though missing the repartee and emotional complexities of the rest of the movie, is one of my favorite parts.

The cinematography is great. But, duh, obviously. Along with the shots of crowded streets and New York under fresh snow, there’s Woody Allen, trying to explain Manhattan. It takes him about a half dozen tries. But even in the version he settles on, with the George Gershwin bubbling up underneath, he isn’t able to fully capture the city.

Woody Allen could have created one introduction to Manhattan, and one a lot tighter than what he uses. But that’s not the point of the tiered start. Sort of like Moby-Dick, what Woody Allen is getting at is there no way to explain New York, and what it means to the people who live there. These introductions aren’t meant to sum up New York because there’s no way to.