Woody's Cold Comforts

By Lauder, Robert E. | Commonweal, April 23, 2010 | Go to article overview

Woody's Cold Comforts


Lauder, Robert E., Commonweal


Friends have often asked me about my interest in the films of Woody Allen: Why is a Catholic priest such an ardent admirer of the work of an avowed atheist, an artist who time and again has insisted on the world's absurdity? My answer is simple: Because of the themes he presents and the cinematic skill with which he presents them, Allen has no equal among contemporary filmmakers.

His very personal films deal with ultimate questions, and they often include a character who is a spokesperson for Allen's own bleak outlook. That outlook has something in common with the existentialist thought of Albert Camus. I sometimes think of Allen as "Camus as Comedian."

When an opportunity to interview Allen recently came my way, I leapt at it. As a long-time admirer of his work I was already familiar with his general outlook, but I was still surprised at the extreme language he used to describe the pointlessness of human existence. He told me, "Human experience Is a brutal experience to me ... an agonizing, meaningless experience, with some oases, delight, some charm and peace, but these are just small oases. Overall it's a brutal, terrible experience."

In recent years Allen's absurdist vision has become more obvious in his films. In Whatever Works (2009), Allen's alter ego, Boris (Larry David), periodically addresses the viewer to explain that when you look at the big picture you see clearly that human reason is inadequate, that life is meaningless, and that all we can do is rely on "whatever works"--whatever helps us survive. In Match Point (2005), one of the most explicitly atheistic films ever made by an American, the protagonist murders his pregnant mistress and a bystander whose death he views as "collateral damage." He explains to their ghosts that there is no justice in the universe because there is no Intelligence directing it. If there were no God, surely Allen's extreme pessimism--and the extreme language in which he expresses it--would be right on target. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Woody's Cold Comforts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.