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‘Allen v. HBO’s Farrow ‘tries to tell an overly polished story




But over the years, Dylans’ story has been unwavering, though few cared to remember it. In 2014, when she chose to rebroadcast it via an open letter in The New York Times, and in 2018, when she spoke again in the midst of the #MeToo movement, she said she did it to shock an industry that had never stopped praising the man she said had abused her.

The series, by again setting Dylans’ accusations, extends the conflict into a fourth consecutive decade. Allen vs. Farrow has the great quality of wanting to put something to rest for good; By focusing on Dylan and presenting previously undisclosed evidence, his filmmakers, Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, aim to deliver a compelling case for Allens’ guilt. (He has always denied having abused Dylan in any way and declined to be interviewed for the series, as have Soon-Yi and his brother Moses Farrow, the two siblings of the family who spoke publicly in 2018 against their adoptive mother.)

But a documentary series, ideally, should feel like a journalistic investigation, not a case in family court, especially when so many details have been spotted and unmasked by so many parties for so long. It is easy to see why Ziering and Dick would have wanted to ignore certain facts. Custody battles and sexual assault cases are both zero-sum: anything that undermines one side, no matter how frivolous, tends to have the unfortunate effect of strengthening the other. The fact that Allen, Soon-Yi, and Moses refused to be on the show is unfortunate (and unsurprising). This does not justify, however, to give such a short drift to the accounts of the latter two, who both offered remarkably different versions having grown up in the Farrow House in the past, and who are quickly rejected on camera by their white siblings. The show’s narrative is too determined for any nuance that could complicate its momentum.

The landscape of survivors has also changed dramatically over the past three years, again shifting the power dynamics of the family. Since Dylan shared his story in 2018, Allen has been effectively kicked out of the industry. Most of the stars who were once attached to his projects have disowned him; his most recent film was released primarily outside the United States; his four-movie contract with Amazon was fall; his autobiography was written by Hachette after employees of the publishing company staged a protest. (It was later released by independent house Arcade.) There’s so little appetite to defend Allen that in the moments I realized the series had omitted elements that could have portrayed Mia Farrow unfavorably. , I felt a little guilty for remembering them.

Ziering and Dick made a name for themselves by exposing institutional abuses of power and the ways in which organizations protect alleged offenders to protect themselves. Their 2012 feature film, The invisible war, plunged into an epidemic of sexual abuse within the military, and 2015 The hunting ground revealed how assaults on college campuses are systematically covered up or underreported to minimize damage to academics’ reputations. On disk, released last year, examined assault allegations made against music producer Russell Simmons and conditions within the industry that deter accusers from speaking out. (Simmons deny all allegations against him.) But with Allen vs. Farrow, administrators move into a different realm. In a meeting with The Hollywood Reporter, Ziering and Dick explained that they had been offered funding for a project exploring incest, and in Dylan they apparently identified a topic that allowed them to examine both the consequences of the trauma of l childhood and the hypocrisy of myth-making in Hollywood.

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