This article appeared in the Sunday edition of Die Welt on November 28. Woody Allen lies on an anylyst's couch complaining about his girlfriend, played by Diane Keaton--from the movie Annie Hall. This scene is actually filmed split-screen, with Keaton complaining to her psychiatrist about Allen. In Germany, Annie Hall was released under the title Der Stadtneurotiker, or "The Urban Neurotic." The way the film plays out, the neurotic could be either of them, if not both.

The remarkable article talks about how much psychiatric intervention has appeared in feature films. I can think of several right away: Spellbound, starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman, directed by Alfred Hitchcock; The Seventh Veil starring Ann Todd and James Mason, directed by Compton Bennett, and the ultimate psychological classic Persona, starring Liv Ullmann and directed by her lover, Ingmar Bergman.

I include a two-minute YouTube video of Annie Hall to show my readers its humor and inventiveness. Allen inserts himself into a fantasy about his own childhood. His classmates make predictions about their own lives that are sort of unsettling, but also visually stunning.

But I don't recommend sitting through all 93 minutes of it. The main characters say their lines with no particular involvement. You can be neurotic and still have passion. The characters appear to talk at each other, rather than to each other. Most of all, their interactions lack urgency and an intimate level of involvement.

I once had a girlfriend (live-in) who became disoriented in the dark. In the middle of the night, she would switch on the light beside the bed, looking startled. If I climbed out of bed, she would grasp my arm with an unsettling whimper, still sound asleep. I don't see that kind of insecurity in Annie Hall. I can't see an intimate aura to the characters' relations.