Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Does He Have A Movie Coming Out, Or Something?

Via Drudge Report:

Woody Allen says he, as a filmmaker, is not interested in 9/11.'It's too small, history overwhelms it," Allen reportedly tells DER SPIEGEL.

"The history of the world is like: He kills me, I kill him, only with different cosmetics and different castings. So in 2001, some fanatics killed some Americans, and now some Americans are killing some Iraqis."

Tuesday's NY POST quotes the master director:

"And in my childhood, some Nazis killed Jews. And now, some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other. Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again."

There he goes, courting controversy. He must have a movie coming out.

I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but I've got to say, I think he's mostly correct here. We're not given the context of the statement here, except that he is talking in relationship to his art. But, if you look at Woody Allen's films you know that his concerns are with questions of being and meaning.

Such issues are bigger than death and destruction, but unfortunately, when we don't deal with such issues well, and we rarely do, they will lead to death and destruction.

Great works of art (think Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Milton) do not tend to work in the realm of politics and war. Art deals with the human spirit struggling with eternal questions.

This is actually one of the interesting questions facing Christians and all religious people. I'm sure that most devout people sometimes think to themselves, why do I focus on politics, when my relationship with God is supposed to be about learning to be good, about doing the right thing, helping the widows and orphans.

The problem is that as humans we live in the political realm, and bad politics makes widows and orphans of many. When a destructive political force rises up, I believe it is the duty of resposible religious to stand against it in order to limit it's power, and quell the death and destruction it will bring with it. This too, is part of building the Kingdom of God.

So, in that sense Mr. Allen's comment seems irresponsible. But, when taken in context of art, I don't think it was.

UPDATE: Baron Bodissey from the great blog Gates of Vienna sent along this little quote from a Lileks piece on this Woody Allen story:

"Some Nazis killed Jews, and now some Jewish people and some Palestinians are killing each other." Same thing. Without the ability to make moral distinctions based on motive, consequences, the ethical constructs of various parties, everything is equal, and you end up with people like Woody Allen: a tiny speck of compacted narcissism, revolving around the dead sun in an empty universe.

My comment on that is:

Just for the record, I agree with your comment that Woody Allen lacks a rigorous moral perspective. But I think he is also saying that he isn't interested in 9/11 as a subject for his art. And why would he be? As I noted, everything he does deals with existential questions.