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'Allen v. Farrow' is the latest example of 'consequences culture'

February 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.8%. 1 min read.

Woody Allen and Dylan O'Sullivan Farrow during Mia Farrow and Woody Allen Sighting at Her Apartment in New York City - May 2, 1989 at Mia Farrow's Apartment in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

HBO's new docuseries, "Allen v. Farrow," is more than a piercing look at a bitter custody battle between two famous people amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

It's the latest in a wave of documentary films that seek to mete out what some may say is long overdue justice.

The HBO series explores allegations by Dylan Farrow that her father, filmmaker Woody Allen, sexually molested her in 1992 when she was 7.

It comes on the heels of The New York Times' documentary, "Framing Britney Spears," released on FX and Hulu this month.

Both follow two 2019 TV documentaries, "Surviving R.

Kelly" and "Leaving Neverland," which detailed sexual assault allegations against singers R.

"Celebrity documentaries have much overlap with our growing fascination with true crime," says Covey, the Villanova professor.

"I think visual storytelling in any form is going to have a more emotional impact on the audience than print journalism," says Ted Mandell, who teaches documentary film production at the University of Notre Dame.

By its nature, a documentary film built around tearful allegations of criminal behavior can feel one-sided.

Covey believes the public perception of documentary film has been shifted by reality TV.

Today, as details of celebrities' personal lives are shared and dissected exhaustively on social media, a documentary filmmaker may feel that doing a straightforward take on a famous person is no longer enough, says David Resha, an associate professor of film and media at Emory University.

"We currently may be more likely to see celebrity documentaries with a point of view because so much of celebrity lives are constantly available to us," he says.

Farrow is referring to how Allen's career survived the sexual abuse allegations for decades.

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