‘Annie Hall’ to show at Mesa Library Thursday

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Special to the Monitor

Billed as a “nervous romance,” “Annie Hall” (1977, rated PG) is one of the funniest, most bittersweet, most intimate, and most memorable films of all time. Los Alamos audiences will have an opportunity to see it for the first time – or the 20th time – at 6:30 p.m. Thursday upstairs at Mesa Public Library.

Director/Writer Woody Allen plays twice-divorced stand-up comedian Alvy Singer, who feels an instant attraction to Annie (Diane Keaton), despite her blundering conversation, adventurous driving, and possible anti-semitism. The relationship moves through the la-dee-dah stage to therapist envy to arguments about community college to a desperate marriage proposal to sincerely wishing each other well.

It’s beautiful, with lots of endearing/annoying personality traits and a few lobsters.

In Alvy’s quest for self-understanding, the narrative looks beyond Alvy’s current relationship to his marriages to Alison (Carol Kane), who finds Alvy physically desirable, thereby causing Alvy to lose interest, and Robin (Janet Margolin), who coldly denies Alvy “intimacy” because there are people from The New Yorker downstairs.

Viewers also learn about Alvy’s childhood home, which was, as he remembers it, located beneath a roller coaster, his early experience with existential melancholy (“Well, the universe is everything, and if it’s expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!”), and his early curiosity about girls (“For God’s sake, Alvy, even Freud spoke of a latency period.”).

The film teems with fantastic characters, scenes, and one-liners. There’s a then-unknown Jeff Goldblum on the phone saying, “I forgot my mantra.” There’s Shelley Duvall describing sex with Alvy as a “Kafka-esque experience” – something akin to illogically complex to the point of futility. There’s even Christopher Walken, Paul Simon, Sigourney Weaver and Truman Capote.

Although not one of Woody Allen’s personal favorites, “Annie Hall” won four Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director (Woody Allen), Best Actress (Diane Keaton), and Best Writing), dozens of other awards worldwide, and a place on myriad reviewers’ “top films” lists.

The free screening is part of the Mesa Public Library Free Film Series, which continues the first Thursday of each month with “McCabe and Mrs Miller” on Oct. 5, “Days of Heaven” Nov. 2, and “The Last Waltz” Dec. 7.

All movies are offered thanks to the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries