On the 1st of December, Woody Allen will be celebrating his 70th birthday. He is undoubtedly among the smartest, most prolific filmmakers of the last forty years, and I was overjoyed when saw a teaser stating that the ORF, ad-supported but fee-collecting Austrian National TV, will be celebrating this event by showing two of his movies and a documentary about him.
Now, how do people usually celebrate? I, for example, like to celebrate my birthday by spending at least an hour or two of said day on unwrapping presents and shaking hands of well-wishers. Please note that I like to take that time out of my usual daily routine, because otherwise, well, it would be like any other day.
Using this celebrating template for the celebration of Woody Allen’s birthday, you’d expect them to simply show these three movies during the 1st of December. Since it’s a Thursday, and the ORF actually has two channels at their disposal, this shouldn’t pose too big a problem. They could for example chuck out the inane German romantic comedy they always show on Thursdays, and replace it with “Small Time Crooks”. Wouldn’t be too much of a sacrifice, right? Or what about rescheduling the nature documentary on the other channel? It’s an in-house produced thing, so they’re free to show it whenever they want.
Seriously, there’d be plenty of slots where it wouldn’t hurt anyone to replace the daily routine with all in all five hours of Woody Allen centrism. Each and every prime time slot on either of the two channels would be better and more appropriate than what they have actually chosen. Let me show you how the ORF honours the 70th birthday of the man who has won numerous Academy Awards and has been nominated for best original screenplay a whopping 13 times:
Sunday, 27th of November:
11 PM: “Woody Allen: A Life in Film” [DE]
12 AM: “Small Time Crooks”[DE]
Monday, 28th of November:
12:20 AM: “Sweet and Lowdown”[DE]
I mean, this is not their “Woody Allen has just died” emergency programming. No, they’ve had 70 years to think about how to celebrate that day, and that’s all they amounted to. That’s just pathetic.