”The truth is always an abyss. One must — as in a swimming pool — dare to dive from the quivering springboard of trivial everyday experience and sink into the depths, in order to later rise again — laughing and fighting for breath — to the now doubly illuminated surface of things.”
( Franz Kafka )
…Woody Allen’s genius has always been a careful juxtaposition of absurd elements into his overall composition. its an appeal to people’s archetypes, or their unlearned tendencies to experience things in a certain way, generally rooted in a collective unconscious. At least according to Freud. Allen has been able to embody these different archetypes and exploit their metaphorical qualities to great advantage in his work.
They are innocent by association.Roman Polanski and Allen have always followed the Franz Kafka’s expression of only reading books that wound and stab us. Although we can laugh at their self inflicted wounds, their tragi-comedies,organized in an never ending series of acts, its the damage done to others which ultimately overshadows their mastery of their craft. Both appear to also follow Kafka’s quote that ”by believing passionately in something that does not exist, we create it”. In this context, it is the fabrication of innocence rather than the denial of wrongdoing. As artists, both are talented in the manipulation and arrangement of incongruity in order to exploit their narratives but ultimately they become their proper metaphor; swallowed much like the biblical metaphor of Jonah and the Whale and Jonah’s fear of Ninevah and making nice with the Assyrians.
In Metamorphosis ( 1915 ), Kafka never explains how his character turns into a bug. His interest is in the alienation his character suffers. For kafka, the transformation of man into insect is only a premise,a symbolic facilitator for the narrative. The artistic articualtions of both Polanski and Allen have symbolically, been underlined by fear within a complex of the inferior and the marginal, hermetically sealed in the prisons they have built for themselves. The dramatic tension is not unlike Franz Kafka’s ”The Trial” where the central character is faced with due process for actions which may be totally unrelated to the pretext for his convocation before judge and jury. The real criminal acts are for unnamed and unknowable crimes almost transcendental in nature. Crimes without names and victims. Incomprehensible crimes that cannot be reduced to cinematic allegory. Polanski and Allen are thus victims in their surreal, darkly absurd vision; at the card table they feel they possess a strong hand.
In The Trial, the protagonist, Josef K finds himself in an alarmingly odd situation, one which he finds hard to understand. There is a sense of constriction, both physical and mental that pervades the story; a recurring image of feeling physically and emotionally dominated by others. The lives of Allen and Polanski also appear absurd and somewhat existential. There is a backdrop of metaphysical guilt that colors and shapes the accusations against these individuals in the literal legal sense as well as the unconscious. The extent being that both film directors can feel guilt, perhaps remorse and also innocent victims as well.