Earlier I had watched Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977) and Midnight in Paris (2011) and I liked the films. Today I watched his earlier work Bananas (1971), a combination of dark comedy and satire. It was about a fictitious revolution in a South American country told in a romantic comedy backdrop.
Fielding Melish (Woody Allen) is an average factory worker, who falls in love with a social activist Nancy (Louise Lasser). After a few months she breaks up with him saying he was not a leader and leads a boring life. To fix this, he travels to a troubled South American country called San Marcos (fictious country) which was suffering from a series of coups. Due to fate, Fielding had to join the rebels, what happens next and did Fielding get back his love was the story.
The film starts with a dig at the paparazzi style live coverage by American TV channels, which should have been a craze at that time (1971) and ends with another episode of live coverage. For the former it was the killing of one dictator and swearing-in of another; for the latter it was the live coverage(!) of the couple’s first night after the marriage.
The story drives home the fact that almost every coup around the world is done for what seems to be then just causes, but always results in a situation worser than before. When Fielding comes back to the USA, as the President of San Marcos, he tries to hide his real identity by wearing a fake beard, Woody Allen makes fun of the American Intelligence and the trial process.
Now this style of comedy might be familiar to movie-goers but I can imagine it would’ve been a creative idea then. A good comedy to watch and enjoy.