Annie Hall

Alvy’s First Session: Annie Hall’s First Scene and Its Relation to Bergman College

Alvy’s First Session: Annie Hall’s First Scene and Its Relation to Bergman

The influence of Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen’s favorite filmmaker, can be seen in many of Allen’s later films, but his inspiration is also evident in 1977’s Annie Hall. In protagonist Alvy Singer, Allen creates a wandering, Bergmanesque character whose problems are largely psychological but, though his agonies are internal, the audience is made aware of them through confessional scenes. The audience becomes a sort of psychiatrist that hears all of his qualms with the world around him and within him. The storyline is not typical of a standard Hollywood film; like Bergman Allen jumps around in a free association style that allows the audience to understand exactly what he is thinking and when and experience it with him. Although a complex character and narrative form in the Bergman tradition emerges throughout the film, the first scene clearly establishes these complexities.

The identity of Alvy Singer develops in a free association manner, and the first scene gives a clear understanding of his wandering nature and his attempt to hide elements of himself behind a mask. After the credits have rolled in a simple format of white text on a black screen without...

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