Monday, April 25, 2011

woody + god

For a long while, Woody Allen was preoccupied with God - in his stand-up, in his early films, right up through Crimes And Misedemeanors - whether for real or just as a running gag. But whether or not he ever had any doubt about his doubts, it's clear enough now that he's settled on his answer....

Sight & Sound: Gemma Jones is particularly good as Helena (in "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger"). There's a foolishness to her character - in her belief in the fortune-teller - and yet she's happier because of it. You've long mocked such quackery in your films, and yet is there some envy on your part towards people who can believe in it?

Woody Allen: I don't take that optimistic view. Yes, Helena is able to maintain her balance by investing her emotions in a fake and fraudulent psychic fortune-teller, and I do believe that belief in anything is better than no belief at all. But no belief at all is the true state of affairs. If you face reality with honesty, you're facing a world that is meaningless. It's a godless universe. That's very painful and terrifying, but that's unfortunately the way it is.
Helena's infatuation with the fortune-teller is no different than somebody's infatuation with any of the major religions, which are no less specious. They all serve the purpose of deceiving the believer sufficiently to enable him or her to get through life without constantly being anxious about the terrifying and unenviable position everyone is in.

Sight & Sound, April 2011

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