Episode 20 – Rifkin’s Festival (2020)

The Woody Allen Pages Podcast
The Woody Allen Pages Podcast
Episode 20 - Rifkin’s Festival (2020)

Rifkin’s Festival is the 49th film written and directed by Woody Allen, first released in 2020.

Wallace Shawn stars as Mort Rifkin, a film teacher who accompanies his wife, Sue, played by Gina Gershon, to the San Sebastián Film Festival. During the festival, Mort has strange dreams that seem oddly familiar, and realises he has some regrets in his life that he has to face.

Filmed in gorgeous San Sebastián in Spain, Rifkin’s Festival is a playful conversation about cinema itself. But at the heart it is a somber character study of a man who might have left it too late.

Welcome to the Woody Allen Pages Podcast. This week, episode 20, we talk about 2020’s Rifkin’s Festival. How it was conceived, how it was made and how it didn’t quite get released properly with COVID and all. Spoilers are everywhere so please watch the film and come back.

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  1. Loved your interpretation and review of the film. You gave deserved depth and insight into what many people seem to dismiss as a slight little movie. I have to disagree with you on one point, though. I still feel the overall casting is a significant problem, I genuinely feel it harms the impact and success of the film. I wish I could share your positive opinion of Wallace Shawn’s performance, a supporting actor I genuinely like, but who as a leading man I found sadly unconvincing. Still, many thanks. I loved the new series of the podcast.

    1. I really liked Wallace Shawn in this role. He was almost a bit Owen Wilson-ish, as in, very likable and believable to me.

  2. I agree with your reaction to this film. I think I enjoyed it more upon a second viewing. I actually purchased a dvd from Spain & then got an all region blu-Ray player because I couldn’t wait until it was released in the USA.

    I’d have to give it more thought, but I think an interesting comparison would be to contrast Mort & Gatsby from Woody’s previous film. They could almost be the same guy at to very different points in life.

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