Woody Allen uses the word "tragic" four times in his front-page interview with the New York Observer. Also, "nihilistic," "dreadful," "sad," "malcontent" and "embarrassment." And that's before he gets going about the "appropriate police."
Life, the movie director says, is "a tough scuffle," and "a tragic situation." You do what you can. Which, in Allen's case, right now, means promoting his film Whatever Works, starring a fellow neurotic New York Jewish comic, Larry David. And maybe blowing off a little steam about all the hubub about marrying his former step-daughter Soon-Yi Previn.
As long as you’re not hurting anybody … or doing anything that’s causing any mischief or hurting anyone or anything awful, that whatever works to get through your life is fine. All the nonsense about what one should be doing and shouldn’t be doing and what’s quote unquote appropriate according to what I call the appropriate police—it’s nonsense.
Working through these feelings in his film does not (surprise!) seem to have lifted the notorious pessimist's dark outlook on life. "We all still remain in this dreadfully tragic predicament," he told the Observer's Sara Vilkomerson. "And a tragic life."
But don't try to cheer Allen up. He'll assume you're lying. Like those people at his film openings.
I go to the party afterwards and go back into phony social mode where people are exchanging enormous insincerities. They’ve hated the film but they’re saying, ‘Gee, great film. Great film.’
Then again, Allen never re-watches his own movies. Life is much more bleak that way.