||Woody Allen finished his first decade of filmmaking, the 1970s, with one of his greatest and most deliberately artistic films, the love song to his home city MANHATTAN. Allen plays Isaac Davis, another one of his thinly veiled self-portraits, who finds himself suffering from a mid-life crisis. Unhappy in his career as a variety show comedy writer and newly divorced from a woman who has since come out as a lesbian, Isaac waffles between two relationships: that with emotionally honest and open, but far too young, Tracy (Mariel Hemingway in an Academy Award nominated performance) and with pseudo-intellectual, neurotic Mary (Diane Keaton). Allen uses these two women to contrast the naiveté and lack of pretension of youth with the growing cynicism of middle age. ^Although the acting and writing is some of the sharpest of Allen's filmmaking career, what is truly memorable and endearing about MANHATTAN is its romantic view of New York. Whereas the character relationships in the film are largely dysfunctional and fueled by a vision of perfection, by contrast the city itself is envisioned by Allen as an object of perfection. In order to create aesthetically pleasing images of the city, Allen and his longtime cinematographer Gordon Willis decided to shoot the film in black and white and in the 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, the first time that Allen had used either format. The images are backed by the songs of quintessential New York composer George Gershwin, setting a tone of romanticism and grandeur that underlies Isaac's (and Allen's) inherent dissatisfaction with the mundane aspects of his life. The magnificence of the city of New York is the backdrop to the search for a similar splendor in human relationships in MANHATTAN.