Love and Death

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Love and Death is a 1975 film about Russians living during the Napoleonic Era who engage in mock-serious philosophical debates.

Written and directed by Woody Allen.

Boris Grushenko[edit]

  • [voiceover] I was walking through the woods, thinking about Christ. If he was a carpenter, I wondered what he charged for bookshelves.
  • [writing aloud] "I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas." Too sentimental.
  • [to Sonja] Where did you go to finishing school? On a pirate ship?
  • A. Socrates is a man. B. All men are mortal. C. All men are Socrates. That means all men are homosexuals. Oh, well, I'm not a homosexual. I - I - Once, some - some Cossacks whistled at me. I - I - I happen to have the kind of body that excites both uh persuasions, but uh you know some men are - are heterosexual, and - and - s-some bisexual, and some men don't think about sex at all, you know, they're - They become lawyers. My problem is that I - I see both sides of every issue. I'm - I'm too logical. You know, I - I - I, the world is not logical. If it was logical, h-how would Old Nehamkin be younger than Young Nehamkin? I-I knew there was something crazy about that when I was a kid, but - but every time I said something, they'd smack me, so you know, heh heh. I-I'm - I'm just wracked with guilt, and I'm - I'm consumed with remorse and stricken with suffering for the human race. Not only that, but - but I'm developing a uh herpe o-on m-my lip here that is really killing me. [sighs] What to do?
  • Then there is a God. Incredible. Moses was right. [A ray of light shines over Boris.] He that abideth in truth will have frankincense and myrrh smeared on his gums in abundance, and he shall dwell in the house of the Lord for six months with an option to buy. But the wicked man shall have all kinds of problems. His tongue shall cleave to the roof of his upper palate. And he shall speak like a woman, if you watch him closely. And he shall . . . The wicked man shall be delivered into the hands of his enemy, whether they can pay the delivery charge or not. And . . . [Ray of light turns off.] Wait, I have more about the wicked man. [The ray turns on again.] I shall walk through the valley of the shadow of death. In fact, now that I think of it, I shall run through the valley of the shadow of death, cause you get out of the valley quicker that way. And he that hath clean hands and a pure heart is okay in my book. But he that fools around with barnyard animals has got to be watched.
  • Wheat. I'm dead. They're talking about wheat. The question is have I learned anything about life. Only that - only that human beings are divided into mind and body. The mind embraces all the nobler aspirations, like poetry and philosophy, but the body has all the fun. [sighs] The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter. You know, if - if it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. I think that - that the worst you can say about him is that basically, he's an underachiever. [sighs] After all, there are worse things in life than death. I mean, if you've - if you've ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman, you - you know exactly what I'm talking mean. The - The key here, I think, is to - to not think of death as an end, but - but think of it more as a very effective way of - of cutting down on your expenses. Regarding love, huh, you know, uh, what can you say. I-It - It's not the quantity of your sexual relations that counts. It's the quality. On the other hand, if the quantity drops below once every eight months, I would definitely look into it. Well, that's about it for me, folks. Goodbye.

Sonja[edit]

  • To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness — I hope you're getting this down.

Natasha[edit]

  • I never want to marry. I just want to get divorced.

Dialogue[edit]

Sonja: I do believe that this is truly the best of all possible worlds.
Boris Grushenko: Well, it's certainly the most expensive.

Sonya: But, if there is no God, then life has no meaning. Why go on living? Why not just commit suicide?
Boris Gruschenko: Well, let's not get hysterical. I could be wrong. I'd hate to blow my brains out and then read in the paper that they found something.
Sonja: Boris, Let me show you how absurd your position is. Let's say there is no God, and each man is free to do exactly as he chooses. What prevents you from murdering somebody?
Boris Grushenko: Murder's immoral.
Sonja: Immorality is subjective.
Boris Grushenko: Yes, but subjectivity is objective.
Sonja: Not in a rational scheme of perception.
Boris Grushenko: Perception is irrational. It implies immanence.
Sonja: But judgment of any system or a priori relation of phenomena exists in any rational or metaphysical or at least epistemological contradiction to an abstracted empirical concept such as being or to be or to occur in the thing itself or of the thing itself.
Boris Grushenko: Yeah, I've said that many times.

Him: Come to my quarters tomorrow at three.
Sonja: I can't.
Him: Please.
Sonja: It is immoral. What time?
Him: Who is to say what is moral?
Sonja: Morality is subjective.
Him: Subjectivity is objective.
Sonja: Moral notions imply attributes to substances which exist only in relational duality.
Him: Not as an essential extension of ontological existence.
Sonja: Could we not talk about sex so much?

Countess Alexandrovna: You're the greatest lover I've ever had.
Boris Grushenko: Well, I practice a lot when I'm alone.

Boris Grushenko: [sighs] You think I was made in God's image? Take a look at me. You think he wears glasses?
Sonja: Not with those frames.

Boris Grushenko: Nothingness. Non-existence. Black emptiness.
Sonja: What did you say?
Boris Grushenko: Oh [sighs], I was just planning my future.

Sonja: "Violence is justified in the service of mankind!"
Boris Grushenko: Who said that?
Sonja: Attila the Hun.
Boris Grushenko: You're quoting a Hun to me?

Sonja: Sex without love is an empty experience.
Boris Grushenko: Yes, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best.

[Sonja sees Boris standing with death]
Sonja: Boris! What happened?
Boris Grushenko: I got screwed.
Sonja: How?
Boris Grushenko: I don't know. This vision came and said I was going to get pardoned, and then they shot me.
Sonja: You were my one great love!
Boris Grushenko: Oh, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm dead.
Sonja: What's it like?
Boris Grushenko: What's it like? You know the chicken at Tresky's Restaurant?
Sonja: Yeah.
Boris Grushenko: It's worse.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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