No. 23: Zelig
Everywhere and nowhere
1983, dir. Woody Allen. In 1964, Saul Bellow had Moses Herzog write letters to the dead and the famous as a metaphor for the unimprovably Jewish sensation of feeling like one is part of history’s whelming tide even if that tide has already crashed ashore, leaving you all too dry. In 1983, Woody Allen had Leonard Zelig magically fit into whichever milieu he found himself in as a metaphor for the yet more unimprovably Jewish sensation of feeling you belong everywhere and, finally, nowhere. Bellow is the third person on screen; he’s preceded by Susan Sontag and Irving Howe.