After renewed investigations in recent years into the sexual abuse allegations filed against Woody Allen by his adopted daughter, it was unclear whether Allen’s latest film, “Rifkin’s Festival,” would receive a theatrical release in the US.
Actors and producers in the United States are increasingly refusing to work with Allen, but he continues to find support in Europe. “Rifkin’s Festival” received support from Spanish and Italian production companies and premiered at the San Sebastián Film Festival in Spain in 2020.
Starting Friday, “Rifkin’s Festival” will go on a limited run in some theaters across the United States — the list is currently 25 theaters long, according to the film’s website. The only theater in New York City signed up to screen the film is Quad Cinema, in Greenwich Village.
It is also available to stream on various platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Google Play.
The sexual abuse allegations against Allen, 86, received a new wave of attention last year after HBO released its docuseries “Allen v. Farrow,” which explored Dylan Farrow’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her at the family’s mansion. in Connecticut in 1992. Dylan and her mother, Mia Farrow, participated in the project and guided the filmmakers through the events of the time, including the prosecution’s decision not to charge Allen in order to spare Dylan the trauma of a trial. .
Allen, who has long denied the allegations, called the series a “sloppy hit piece” that “had no interest in the truth.”
“Rifkin’s Festival” is about an ex-film professor and struggling novelist who accompanies his publicist wife to a film festival in Spain (the same where the film premiered). The husband (played by Wallace Shawn) only goes to keep an eye on his wife (Gina Gershon) and flirt with a hotshot director.
Critic Jessica Kiang reviewed the film for DailyExpertNews after its premiere, comparing it favorably to Allen’s 2019 film “A Rainy Day in New York,” which was dropped by Amazon as investigations into Dylan Farrow’s allegations escalated and eventually a limited theatrical run in the United States. (Allen sued Amazon for ending its four-photo deal; the company settled.)
“‘Rifkin’s Festival’ is far less reprehensible,” Kiang wrote, “and though that praise is so feeble it needs smelling salts, with Woody Allen today we should be thankful for small mercies.”
In recent years, some actors have said not to work with Allen over Dylan Farrow’s allegations, but others have defended the director.
In November, Shawn defended his decision to take on the role, writing in an essay in The Wrap that he was “disturbed by the speed with which some of my colleagues in the acting fraternity have distanced themselves from Woody.”
In a recent interview with the WGN television station in Chicago, Gershon said she chose to work with Allen because he is a “genius.”
“It serves no one to keep great artists from working, not even the alleged victims, right?” she said.
A representative for Dylan Farrow did not comment.
Letty Aronson, Allen’s sister and producer of the film, did not respond to requests for comment.