Woody Allen on Life and Filmmaking

Woody Allen and Hayley Atwell © Wild Bunch

Woody Allen’s film “Cassandra’s Dream” is a story of death and guilt set in contemporary London. It tells the tale of two brothers (Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell) who while attempting to improve their miserable lives fall into dire straits with predictable unfortunate consequences. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival where Woody Allen made the following comments.

“My movie is a story of two young people who because of their weaknesses and their ambitions end up in a tragic situation.   They mean well, but it turns out that events and their own actions bring them to a tragic end.    Unconsciously, the story is inspired by much of the mythology and biblical references I grew up reading.

Why a murder?  Murder is a fundamental staple of drama. Murder has been used for centuries.   I am interested in the possibility to be either Cain or Abel.

Guilt is a tragic part of life.  When the topic is serious, the perspective on guilt becomes quite serious.   My characters are obsessed with guilt, riddled by guilt.   My hero in this film is ready to carry out the deed with his uncle.  But he has his own agenda,  if he is honest with himself.   It is fascinating and tragic:  two men from the same background approach the same event so differently.  I was obsessing with guilt in a comic way.

Life is tremendously tragic, but it has comic moments, moments of pleasure. But basically life is tragic.   I am a tragic writer but my most obvious strengths were comic.  I always wanted to work on tragic things and my feeling about life is pessimistic.  But I think there are extremely amusing oases in that morass.

Oddly I have been influenced by my colleagues, Scorsese, Copolla, Altman, Spielberg, but I never see any of my influences on anyone!

And Scarlett Johansson?  She is a wonderful actor, she has no limit on her future. She is young and beautiful and gifted.”

Woody Allen performs  with the New Orleans Jazz Band a special concert Dec 25th  (3pm, 8pm) at the the Theatre du Chatelet. Info: http://chatelet-theatre.com