Woody Allen Talks Life with Priest

As he grows old­er, Woody Allen increas­ing­ly finds him­self posi­tioned as the philoso­pher film­mak­er. Fresh Air host Ter­ry Gross asked him some heavy exis­ten­tial ques­tions in an inter­view last year. (Lis­ten here). And, more recent­ly, we have Allen grap­pling with some big life ques­tions in an inter­view con­duct­ed by Father Robert E. Lauder in the Catholic mag­a­zine, Com­mon­weal. The con­ver­sa­tion begins:

RL: When Ing­mar Bergman died, you said even if you made a film as great as one of his, what would it mat­ter? It doesn’t gain you sal­va­tion. So you had to ask your­self why do you con­tin­ue to make films. Could you just say some­thing about what you meant by “sal­va­tion”?

WA: Well, you know, you want some kind of relief from the agony and ter­ror of human exis­tence. Human exis­tence is a bru­tal expe­ri­ence to me…it’s a bru­tal, mean­ing­less experience—an ago­niz­ing, mean­ing­less expe­ri­ence with some oases, delight, some charm and peace, but these are just small oases. Over­all, it is a bru­tal, bru­tal, ter­ri­ble expe­ri­ence, and so it’s what can you do to alle­vi­ate the agony of the human con­di­tion, the human predica­ment? That is what inter­ests me the most. I con­tin­ue to make the films because the prob­lem obsess­es me all the time and it’s con­sis­tent­ly on my mind and I’m con­sis­tent­ly try­ing to alle­vi­ate the prob­lem, and I think by mak­ing films as fre­quent­ly as I do I get a chance to vent the prob­lems. There is some relief. I have said this before in a face­tious way, but it is not so face­tious: I am a whin­er. I do get a cer­tain amount of solace from whin­ing.

You can read the full inter­view here, and, in case you missed it, you can watch Jean-Luc Godard­’s 1986 movie with Woody Allen enti­tled Meetin’ WA.

Thanks to Mike for the tip on this one.

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