From Crimes and Misdemeanours to Match Point : luck and chance in the films of Woody Allen

Isaac HUI (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Woody Allen seems to have become interested in the notions of luck and chance in his recent films, a subject that one can see from Match Point (2005), to his latest work Coup de Chance (2023). With reference to Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theories, this article explores how the notion of chance repeats and evolves in Allen’s films. On repetition, Lacan says, “what is repeated, in fact, is always something that occurs – the expression tells us quite a lot about its relation to the tuché – as if by chance.” (Seminar XI, p. 54) This reference to chance relates to the mis-encounter of the real, an experience that cannot be separated from repetition, and the imaginary as veil. Dylan Evans comments that for Lacan, “chance, in the sense of pure contingency, only exists in the real. In the symbolic order, there is no such thing as pure chance.” Woody Allen at least twice explores the idea of whether a man can walk free from his crime and go unpunished – the first time in Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989), and the second time in Match Point. While the subject of the two films seems to be similar, and potentially repeats itself, however, as Lacan says, “repetition demands the new” (Seminar XI, p. 61). In Match Point, the notion of chance was given a much more important emphasis than in Crimes and Misdemeanours. This could imply a move away from the symbolic and into the realm of real. The male subject no longer has control over his existence, something that is entirely arbitrary, and, therefore, heterogeneous.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2024
EventInternational Conference on Film Studies : "Identity and Otherness in Film" - Birkbeck, University of London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Feb 20244 Feb 2024


ConferenceInternational Conference on Film Studies : "Identity and Otherness in Film"
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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