Woody Allen says he began shooting movies in European cities because he couldn't afford to do it any more in New York...Allen hit out at American cinema saying the majority of films over the past decade had been made just for money and lacked creative spirit. In comparison, he said European films were much more artistic.
It's great to make a stand for the artistic spirit, but let's not pretend that this has something to do with anything but money. Europeans have been funding Allen's rote movies for years, in many cases in exchange for filming them overseas. His latest, You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, was shot in London, and his next opus, Midnight in Paris is currently filming in the city in the title.
His only recent Oscar-winner (and one of his few good films in the past decade) Vicky Christina Barcelona was filmed in the city in its title thanks to major funding from the city itself. The local and regional government of Barcelona put up 10 percent of the film's budget—about $2 million—to have it shot there. Culture officials weren't hoping to make money off the movie (does anyone make money from Woody Allen movies anymore?) but wanted to use it as one long tourism brochure to boost business. Now Allen has a three-picture deal with a Spanish company.
Allen did say that there are fewer limitations shooting in New York and that he had to tailor his plots a little more specifically for European filming, but that is the one concession he made to the city that made him famous and served as his muse for the better part of his career. And we mean the better part as in the movies were better. These days, more often than not, Allen's movies are financial and critical disasters and if the Europeans want to prop him up while he keeps churning out sad little comedies then let them. Let's just not pretend that this has more to do with art than it does with finance.