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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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The Movie Roman Coppola Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Feb 9, 2013
Originally published on February 9, 2013 6:51 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

The movie that writer-director Roman Coppola, whose credits include CQ, Moonrise Kingdom and A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III — currently playing in theaters — could watch a million times is Woody Allen's Stardust Memories.

Interview Highlights

On why he finds Stardust Memories so funny

"The film is filled with references and inside jokes that pertain to [Woody Allen's] body of work and other films that he admires, and it's all played for laughs but the humor is rather tied to the vest so the things that I find to be very hilarious are hilarious in a very subtle way."

On why he watches the film over and over again

"It's a film that I routinely watch, you know, if I'm not sure what I want to see, and then you end up getting sucked into it. So, there are certain movies that for some reason have that quality. I think Dr. Strangelove is another one; All That Jazz, for me, Annie Hall -- there are a handful of movies — and for some reason they are so rich that to watch it again and to pick it up in the middle or to just watch a scene or you know, to have a little contact with it is just so welcome. So it's a mystery."

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On this show, we've been asking filmmakers about the movies they never get tired of watching - the ones that they could watch again and again, including this one from the cowriter of "Moonrise Kingdom."


ROMAN COPPOLA: My name is Roman Coppola. I'm a writer and director. And the movie I've seen a million times is "Stardust Memories" by Woody Allen, starring Woody Allen and Charlotte Rampling.


CHARLOTTE RAMPLING: (as Dorrie) Look, Sandy. This is two lousy days. You drive up there. They honor you, they show you films. They ask you a couple of stupid questions, and you go home.

WOODY ALLEN: (as Sandy Bates) I don't want to be honored. It's a hype.

COPPOLA: Well, the film was about a filmmaker who is invited to attend a retrospective of his work, and it becomes an occasion for him to do a little self-analysis and review of where he stands. And he has different recollections and memories from the past bubble up, and so the film has a very wonderful freedom to travel here and there through his memories and through his fantasies. And it's a film that is endlessly imaginative and, you know, has wonderful surprises around every corner.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as Character) Do you find it very hard to direct yourself?

ALLEN: (as Sandy Bates) Hard? No, no. I just have to resist the temptation to give myself too many extreme close-ups.

COPPOLA: The film is filled with references and inside jokes that pertain to his body of work and other films that he admires. And it's all played for laughs, but the humor is rather tight to the vest. So things that I find to be very hilarious are hilarious in a very subtle way.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as Character) Well, we found a 32-caliber pistol in the...

ALLEN: (as Sandy Bates) Yeah. That's mine too. I carry a pistol. It's a - I have a thing about Nazis. It's a little paranoid weakness I have.

COPPOLA: There's so many wonderful scenes in the movie. And the one that comes back to me, I guess, is there's a scene where the Woody Allen character speaks about his relationship with the Charlotte Rampling character.


ALLEN: (as Sandy Bates) You know, some time ago I had a love affair that ended sort of unhappily. And...

COPPOLA: He recalls a memory of a Sunday morning, and there's an image of him looking at her. And she's reading the paper, she's laying on the floor and flipping through the Sunday paper.


ALLEN: (as Sandy Bates) It was one of those great spring days, a Sunday. And, you know, you knew summer would be coming soon. And I remember that morning Dorrie and I had gone for a walk in the park. We came back to the apartment. We were just sort of sitting around. And I put on a record of Louis Armstrong, which was music that I grew up loving. It was very, very pretty.

COPPOLA: And he evokes this feeling, this memory of this incredible moment they shared. And in a way, all the troubles and all the difficulty they had sort of melts away. And at least he had that.


ALLEN: (as Sandy Bates) And for one brief moment, everything just seemed to come together perfectly, and I felt happy, almost indestructible, in a way. And it's funny. That simple little moment of contact moves me in a very, very profound way.

COPPOLA: And to be able to portray that, you know, in a film is just magical.


LOUIS ARMSTRONG: (Singing) Well, baby, (unintelligible) dreaming of a song melody, my memory...

LYDEN: That's writer/director Roman Coppola talking about the movie that he could watch a million times, Woody Allen's "Stardust Memories." Coppola's new film, "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," is in theaters now.


ARMSTRONG: (Singing) My stardust melody, your memory of love... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.