meEight months after his relationship with his stepdaughter Soon-Yi was revealed in 1992, Woody Allen was accused of sexually abusing Dylan Farrow, his youngest daughter with his partner Mia Farrow, when she was seven years old. Allen strongly denied all allegations, as he has continued to do for the nearly 30 years since. But they fell on fertile soil. How could a man who could start an affair with his partner’s daughter not be capable of anything else, the argument said? A mix-up of publicity followed, claims (that no mother, especially one as devoted as Farrow, could make up such a thing), counterclaims (that she actually did, that Dylan was trained, which she denies, and that it was quite an act. revenge for the Soon-Yi affair), along with gossip and rumors proliferated.
Dylan and his brother Ronan Farrow began speaking out publicly on the matter in 2014. This has unearthed old battle lines and sparked new accounts from people close to the family at the time and from Moses, another of Farrow’s sons, who contradict to both. things that they said at that time or the narrative of the holy mother that seemed the most natural. Meanwhile, doctors examined Dylan at the time and found no evidence to support Farrow’s claim, and Allen was investigated by the Yale New Haven Hospital Child Sexual Abuse Clinic and the New York State Department of Social Services. , who came to similar conclusions.
The job of journalism, says the cliché, is not to listen from each side how they think the weather is, but to stick their heads out the window and see if it is raining. The new HBO documentary Allen v Farrow (Sky Documentaries) is four hours long, which would be plenty of time to do so. Sadly though, the movie is intended to be an investigation, we don’t hear from both sides, and we’re working with the curtains pulled tight. It’s the Farrow show everywhere. Dylan, Farrow, and most of all, Mia present their version of events without any interruption other than home video footage, shots from inside the beautiful Connecticut home where the supposedly ugliest event took place, and selected clips of Allen in a chat program. interviews dating back decades. From time to time, we hear excerpts from his autobiography published last year, but it’s hard to feel that this constitutes an adequate response given that Allen declined to participate.
What makes it what? A four-hour PR piece, on one level, another front opening up in the ongoing battle to establish what affirmed truth wins the hearts and minds of the public – all victory, in the absence of a trial, that remains. On another level, while it doesn’t look like the true crime genre that has flourished since Making a Murderer became a hit for Netflix, it feeds those same appetites. You expose yourself to the same accusations of indulging the audience’s worst appetites and exploiting some or all of those who participate. And while top-tier contributors to this genre re-investigate, provide new evidence, and / or expose court errors, Allen v Farrow is in the second class, simply re-exposing and picking up the bones of what happened before. .
I am not commenting on the successes and the errors or the facts or fictions of the situation; after all, like everyone but a small handful of people in the world, I have no idea of the truth. But that’s really the point. If you are going to present four hours of information on a controversial topic, you should add value to it, do a stress test, dig deep, not just regurgitate what one of the parties has told you, however much sympathy you have for them. you believe them a lot. Especially then, in fact, because a totally uncritical and uninterrupted presentation eventually allows one to suspect that history could not withstand it.
In the first episode, you could point to as an example of this the moment when Mia Farrow lists the amount of predatory behavior that she claims to have seen from Allen, and yet she is not pressured on why she did not act as we might expect. And so another layer of doubt and obfuscation builds up around a story and around people who, on both sides and whatever the facts of the matter, deserve clarity or be left alone.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism