Renowned filmmaker Sandy Bates is in a professional transition, directing largely comedies early in his career now wanting to direct more serious movies so that he can explore the meaning of life, most specifically his own. Most are fighting him all along the way, including the movie going public, who continually tell him that they love his movies especially the earlier funny ones, to studio executives who are trying to insert comic elements wherever possible into his current movie in production.
He reluctantly agrees to attend a weekend long film festival of his movies. Despite the throng of requests for his time, he is further able to reflect on his life as he addresses the questions at the post screening Q&A sessions. He also reflects specifically on his love life as his current girlfriend, married Isobel, shows up unexpectedly, and as he starts to fall for festival attendee Daisy – at the festival with her Columbia professor boyfriend, Jack Abel.
Stardust Memories is a 1980 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen and starring himself, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault and Sharon Stone in her film debut. The film is about a filmmaker who recalls his life and his loves – the inspirations for his films – while attending a retrospective of his work. Allen considers this to be one of his best films, along with The Purple Rose of Cairo and Match Point. The film is shot in black and white and is reminiscent of Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963), which it parodies.
The film was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for Best Comedy written directly for screen. Allen denies that this film is autobiographical and has expressed regret that audiences interpreted it as such.” thought that the lead character was me,” the director is quoted as saying in Woody Allen on Woody Allen. “Not a fictional character but me, and that I was expressing hostility towards my audience. That was in no way the point of the film. It was about a character who is obviously having a sort of nervous breakdown and, in spite of success, has come to a point in his life where he is having a bad time.”
Stardust Memories (1980)
Directed by: Woody Allen
Starring: Woody Allen, Charlotte Rampling, Jessica Harper, Marie-Christine Barrault, Tony Roberts, Daniel Stern, Amy Wright, Helen Hanft, Anne De Salvo
Screenplay by: Woody Allen
Production Design by: Mel Bourne
Cinematography by: Gordon Willis
Film Editing by: Susan E. Morse
Costume Design by: Santo Loquasto
Set Decoration by: Steven J. Jordan
Art Direction by: Michael Molly
Distributed by: United Artists
Release Date: September 26, 1980