Christina Engelhardt was solely 16 when she first met Woody Allen in a New York restaurant.
On the time, she was a blonde highschool scholar with inexperienced eyes, a determine that had received her just a few modelling contracts and a dream in her coronary heart of being well-known.
He was 41, had already had a success with the movie Sleeper and would quickly launch Annie Corridor and Manhattan, two of his best movies.
Within the latter he performed a middle-aged man in a relationship with a 17-year-old highschool lady, performed by actress Mariel Hemingway, who was then aged 16.
Solely now, 4 a long time after the movie premiered, can Christina see the merciless irony of the storyline that captivated generations.
‘The movie at all times reminded me of how he performed with characters in his motion pictures, and how he performed with me,’ says Christina right now.
Christina Engelhardt (pictured not too long ago) was solely 16 when she first met Woody Allen in a New York restaurant.
For after that first restaurant rendezvous, she claims she went on to have a clandestine eight-year relationship with the Hollywood director, beneath the nostril of — and certainly, she says, with the complete however reluctant information of — his then long-term companion, Mia Farrow.
Allen by no means talked about her younger age —regardless of their 25-year age hole — and from the start he laid down guidelines that they’d not talk about his work and would meet solely at his place.
Christina feels it was a crude and merciless introduction to the world of relationships for a younger lady and, for a few years, she refused to see herself as a sufferer.
Younger, bold, starstruck and completely smitten together with her well-known ‘boyfriend’, it’s solely now, as an grownup, that she says she will be able to see how she was manipulated.
‘The truth that (*41*) was a young person was by no means talked about, and that was really very intelligent as a result of it made me really feel adult-like.
‘He would ask me questions — what did (*41*) take into consideration this and what did (*41*) take into consideration that — and (*41*) was thrilled that he needed my opinion.
‘To me, that was thrilling, to be seen not only for being engaging. (*41*) thought he cared for my thoughts in addition to my physique,’ she says, ruefully. ‘However he by no means took me out to dinner or on a date, not as soon as.’
Christina, now a horny and bubbly 61-year-old divorced mom of two grownup daughters, is likely one of the voices in a brand new HBO documentary, Allen v Farrow, which chronicles troubling claims in regards to the Hollywood legend’s sexual historical past.
It brings contemporary scrutiny to among the severe allegations which were levelled in opposition to him for many years and examines his obvious predilection for younger ladies.
In Manhattan he performed a middle-aged man in a relationship with a 17-year-old highschool lady, performed by actress Mariel Hemingway, who was then aged 16 (pictured)
Secretly remodeled three years by revered filmmakers recognized for uncovering new proof and aggressively holding alleged sexual predators to account, the documentary has led to questions on whether or not it will lastly see the director hounded out of Hollywood for good, and his movies shunned for ever.
The 4 hour-long instalments examines his marriage to Quickly-Yi Previn, the Korean-born adopted daughter of his former companion Mia Farrow whom he met when she was ten and accusations — which Allen has at all times denied — that he molested one other of Farrow’s adopted daughters, Dylan, when she was seven.
Particularly, Allen v Farrow permits Dylan, now a 35-year-old mom of two, to inform her facet of a deeply troubling story, claiming that a bit lady by no means acquired justice and the movie director has not been totally held to account.
It additionally highlights what ‘girlfriends’ comparable to Christina have lengthy claimed — which is that the Oscar-winning director’s curiosity in portraying deep infatuations between teenage women and older males in his movies mirrored his penchant for younger ladies in actual life.
Christina tells me how she would often take a two-hour bus journey from her dad and mom’ house in New Jersey for ‘dates’ with the esteemed director at his house — however, by her account, their relationship was removed from any younger lady’s dream of romance.
‘(*41*) by no means as soon as stayed in a single day. It was just for a few hours, together with intercourse. A glass of wine, a bit chit-chat, a sport of chess and some intercourse. Then it was at all times, “OK. Time to go. Subsequent time, you’re within the metropolis, let me know.” ’
The susceptible teenager stated she was damage and confused by the key nature of their relationship, evidenced by the truth that Allen wouldn’t even take her out for a meal.
Engelhardt (modelling in 1977) claims she went on to have a clandestine eight-year relationship with the Hollywood director, beneath the nostril of — and certainly, she says, with the complete however reluctant information of — his then long-term companion, Mia Farrow.
‘(*41*) gave him 100 alternatives to say, “Hey, let’s exit to dinner” and (*41*) suppose that’s the place my low vanity got here in. (*41*) thought that perhaps if (*41*) was extra fascinating and achieved, then issues would change. It felt very unrequited. (*41*) was solely 16 and felt flattered that somebody as gifted and witty as Woody was fascinated with me.’
There are different, sadder, reminiscences. She recollects turning up, unannounced, to the New York jazz membership the place Allen, an newbie clarinettist, would play as soon as every week.
One can solely think about what Allen should have thought, seeing his secret teenage mistress within the crowd, when he was cranking out tunes together with his jazz mates.
‘He would give me a hug like (*41*) was pal. (*41*)’d sit and watch him carry out however (*41*) was alone. He by no means launched me as his girlfriend.’
But, based on allegations made within the HBO collection, which is now out there to observe within the U.S., even darker occasions would happen in Allen’s life.
It questions whether or not Allen ‘groomed’ Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter Quickly-Yi whereas she was nonetheless in highschool, although Allen and Quickly-Yi, who are actually a pair, have at all times stated that their affair started when she was older.
It options testimony from Dylan, who first accused her adopted father in 1992 of abusing her — allegations he has at all times denied, suggesting they might have been fabricated beneath Mia’s affect.
Probably the most compelling is never-before-seen movie, shot by her mom on the household’s camcorder, of the then seven-year-old Dylan describing what occurred when Allen took her to ‘disguise’ in an attic of Farrow’s Connecticut nation house and touched her ‘non-public elements’. The little lady appears to be like visibly upset and offended.
There’s testimony from the grownup Dylan and different members of the family claiming Allen confirmed ‘obsessive curiosity’ in her, cajoling her into sucking his thumb and ignoring the opposite kids within the household to spend time together with her.
The 4 hour-long instalments examines his marriage to Quickly-Yi Previn (pictured collectively), the Korean-born adopted daughter of his former companion Mia Farrow whom he met when she was ten and accusations — which Allen has at all times denied
Interviews with former babysitters and with youngster welfare employees and legislation enforcement who had been concerned in Allen’s 1992 failed custody go well with in opposition to Mia Farrow paint a sample of inappropriate behaviour with the kid.
Allen just isn’t interviewed within the documentary. As an alternative, the filmmakers needed to depend on excerpts from his controversial audio guide launched in 2020 referred to as Apropos Of Nothing, during which he provides his model of 1 accusation that he was noticed together with his head in younger Dylan’s lap.
‘Whereas Mia had gone buying, after explaining to everybody that (*41*) needed to be watched rigorously, all the children and the babysitters had been within the den watching TV, a room full of individuals. There have been no seats for me, so (*41*) sat on the ground and may need leaned my head again on the couch on Dylan’s lap for a second. (*41*) definitely didn’t do something improper to her.’
For her half, Christina believes she received caught up in Allen’s sexual vortex as a result of she was each bold and in awe of him.
Many groomers of youngsters concentrate on vulnerability and low vanity — and she was no exception. ‘Predators see that insecurity in younger individuals and reap the benefits of it.
‘(*41*) thought (*41*) was particular to him, however (*41*) ended up feeling like his plaything, like a toy, and that’s all (*41*) was. He wasn’t the individual (*41*) thought. (*41*) gave him the advantage of the doubt as a result of (*41*) thought he was a genius.’
Her dad and mom knew she was seeing Allen, now 85, as a result of he would name her at house, however they didn’t know their daughter was sleeping with him. ‘When he referred to as, (*41*) would simply say, “Oh, that’s my director pal.” ’ A few 12 months into their relationship, Christina claims Allen launched her to different younger women for threesomes. ‘(*41*) thought it was a part of life’s expertise and (*41*) went together with it, sure,’ she says.
When she first noticed Manhattan in 1979, she says she cried. The storyline took her utterly without warning: ‘(*41*) stated to Woody, later, “Wow that resembles me” and he laughed and stated, “Does it?” (*41*) felt like he’d taken fragments of me and put them within the movie.’
Allen (pictured) by no means talked about Christina’s younger age —regardless of their 25-year age hole — and from the start he laid down guidelines that they’d not talk about his work and would meet solely at his place
4 years into their relationship, on certainly one of Christina’s journeys into New York, Allen sounded excited when she arrived at his place. ‘He launched me to Mia Farrow and stated, “(*41*) need you to fulfill my girlfriend” and (*41*) bear in mind pondering, “(*41*)’m not your girlfriend”. (*41*) might see then that (*41*) was nothing [to him] however Mia was so variety and so good. She was fantastic.’
The star of 1968 movie Rosemary’s Child was 16 years her senior and the 2 ladies grew to love one another, a lot so, they took half in threesomes, Christina alleges.
‘We had been his two favorite women and he was very a lot the director in that scenario. (*41*) suppose Mia was beneath his spell, too. Should you’re in a contented and wholesome relationship, you don’t should carry a 3rd individual in.’
The ultimate straw for Christina got here when Allen refused to assist her together with her appearing profession. She left the U.S. in 1983 and went to work in Rome.
Together with the remainder of the world, Christina says she was shocked when she heard about Allen’s relationship with Quickly-Yi Previn.
Mia Farrow found bare images of her then college-age adopted daughter in Allen’s condominium and Allen admitted the affair as a part of his defence in opposition to the abuse allegations.
Allen and Quickly-Yi married in Venice in 1997 and have two adopted daughters. Christina says: ‘(*41*) consider he solely married Quickly-Yi as a result of he received such dangerous press. (*41*) suppose it was going to be a enjoyable little secret and he married her as a result of it made him look legit. (*41*) actually hope they’re glad collectively.’
As for Dylan’s surprising allegations of molestation when she was a baby, Christina says solely she and Allen know what actually occurred.
Every episode of the documentary ends with Allen’s categorical denial that he has ever been violent or sexually abusive in the direction of Dylan, or behaved inappropriately with any teenage women.
‘She’s by no means modified her story and (*41*) suppose she ought to be given the advantage of the doubt,’ says Christina. ‘(*41*) do consider one thing inappropriate went on.’ As for Christina’s romance with the movie director, she provides: ‘(*41*) don’t remorse that it occurred, however (*41*) remorse (*41*) let it go on for therefore lengthy.
‘(*41*)’ve by no means doubted that he’s witty and gifted nevertheless it’s disappointing to place somebody on a pedestal, artistically and intellectually, and then they allow you to down, badly.
‘(*41*) really feel like he’s dug his personal grave and (*41*)’m sorry that he didn’t consider the implications of the alternatives he has made.’