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Leonard Zelig (Woody Allen) is a man so introverted and insecure that he has developed the ability to blend perfectly into the background of any given situation, regardless of the personality or even ethnicity of the people around him.  But when he inadvertently becomes famous as “the human chameleon” after the media takes too keen an interest in his therapy sessions with Dr Eudora Fletcher (Mia Farrow), Zelig is faced with an unprecedented challenge: how do you fade into the background when the spotlight is firmly upon you? (Arrow Academy)

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Reviews (5)

NinadeL 

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English It had to happen at some point, so I'm trying to get through Woody’s films more systematically now. I'd had a collection of the basic 20 films on DVD on hand to watch. But I simply didn’t have the interest within me before. So now I am varying Mia Farrow's storyline and if possible, at least partial retro. So how did Zelig fare after this decision? Very poorly. An idea for a short fictional documentary applied to a feature documentary. Thank you, but I’m done. ()

gudaulin 

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English In his early films, Woody was lively and showcased a whole geyser of gags that the audience loved, but then he longed to have more serious storytelling and "more serious" subjects. However, the audience desired that old good comedian and did not accept his seriously inclined films. Especially Stardust Memories ended in a painful failure - and I write this with the knowledge that in the case of Woody Allen's work, it was never about box office hits. Woody responded by returning to his comedic roots, but he approached it differently nonetheless. The humor in Zelig is more subtle and sophisticated, and the film is much more demanding both in terms of the script and production. The result is a satirical mystification, where Woody mocks conformity through the story of a man - a chameleon, who perfected his effort not to draw attention to himself and blend in with his surroundings. He is capable of not only changing his political beliefs or religious affiliation as needed but also his gender or skin color. With a terrifying ease, he adapts to any social environment and community. The Ku Klux Klan sees in his ability to become a member of any racial minority the greatest danger to America, while in Germany, Zelig becomes an enthusiastic Nazi. On another level, the film is also an excellent parody of biographical documentaries. Woody used authentic film material from the 1920s and 1930s and combined it with newly edited shots. The fictional Zelig thus appears in periodicals and documentary footage with real historical figures, and Allen lets actual experts talk about the whole case. Zelig is certainly among the most interesting and playful of Allen's films, and I admire the ant-like work and ideas, but this film is not a spontaneous favorite for me. Overall impression: 80%. ()

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D.Moore 

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English Zelig is a devilishly funny and intelligent film that I simply fell in love with. A finely honed mystification and parody full of great ideas and unforgettable scenes. I'm thrilled - the misery is there and I may never have to see Forrest Gump again. Another five star for Woody Allen. "Two bigoted idiot American morons and criminal shitheads have ruined a great joke for our Führer..." ()

novoten 

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English Another unforgettable Woody affair, set exactly between perfect satire and amazing comedy. I consider casting myself as Zelig a stroke of genius, because only Allen can endow the main protagonist with a special aura. Moreover, with each subsequent viewing, this genius matures up to the director's best films ever. This kind of idea is balanced with gold. This is something he brought upon himself after a Mexican meal. ()

Stanislaus 

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English A very original film in Woody Allen oeuvre, which did not make me laugh as much as, for example, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion or Scoop, but I rather enjoyed the unconventional style and the idea itself. The film is a kind of documentary about a fictional man, Leonard Zelig, who caused a sensation in the 1920s and 1930s, and Allen manages to weave this "chameleon" into history so well that it seems as if Zelig actually ever existed. The most imaginative scene (at least for me) was the spoiling of Hitler's speech. All in all, a fairly atypical film for Allen, and one that appealed to me more for its premise and technical execution than its humor. ()

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