16 – Zelig (1983)

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Zelig (Woody Allen) is a man who assumes the looks and character of whoever he’s with: rabbi, Red Indian, mariachi band… Brilliant editing coupled with Allen’s unassuming but distinctive face maximise the comic potential of his morphing tendencies. There’s Zelig playing baseball with Babe Ruth. There he is again, to Hitler’s far right. But Zelig isn’t only visual tricks and treats to a jazz age soundtrack. The psychological riddle of why people suppress their true selves in order to conform is explored and a heart-warming solution found. One of Allen’s most gentle, human and clever comedies.

Like: A human Rorschach test.

Core truth: Love unlocks the true personality.

CINEMA: BFI.

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