Jesse Eisenberg, the hidden son of Woody Allen

Jesse Eisenberg, the hidden son of Woody Allen

Jesse Eisenberg, May 19, 2022, on the Nespresso beach in Cannes.

“No, no, it’s not my story, it’s pure fiction…”assures actor Jesse Eisenberg, trying to explain what led him to write his first film, When You Finish Saving the World. The very title (“when you’re done saving the world”) sounds like the sarcastic criticism of a militant intelligentsia, the American left of which he is a part, plagued by doubt. “It’s simply the story of a mother engrossed in running a shelter for battered women and her teenage son mostly concerned about the number of followers listening to his songs on the internet. Two people who seek to have an impact on the march of the world. But who do so to the detriment of their personal relationships. »

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We find the actor awkwardly seated at the table of a hut on the beach of Cannes. Why do we immediately think of Woody Allen when looking at this face that we loved in Noah Baumbach, Joachim Trier, Wes Craven, Kelly Reichardt, or in Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, by David Fincher? Is this his quick and hesitant way of speaking? His New York Jewish side which casts a lucid and ironic light on everything – making this cultural heritage a handicap and a strength? Or this singular way of casting a contemptuous gaze on this narcissistic world of which he knows he is a stakeholder.

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“The subject bothered mehe continues. why an artist like me, does he have this need – which I find quite ugly – to draw the world’s attention to himself? And why does my wife, a teacher, an activist – one of those people who are modest enough to go to work every day without complaining – seem at times to have more sympathy for her students, or for the people she cares for, what for me? When I think about these two different ways of seeking outside approval for who we are, I wonder if all this is not damaging our relationship…” If the film is not his story, it is not far from it.

Uncontrolled skids

Jesse Eisenberg was born thirty-eight years ago in the working-class neighborhoods of Queens, New York. Young, his mother was in a Zionist socialist group. Professors, from the left, but not activists. He comes out of adolescence when he meets his current partner, Anna Strout. It is she who will make him aware. “I started going to demonstrations, participating in political rallies. Our first vacation together, I was 18, was to go to Venezuela, because she wanted to see what was going on in that country. Hugo Chavez had just been re-elected, she was curious about the political situation, it was the first time I had traveled abroad”he says, enthusiastic and in love. “Anna is smarter and more committed than me. And she comes from a line of great Jewish intellectuals. » Anna’s mother, Toby Susan Strout, is a feminist activist who, in Bloomington, a small college town in Indiana, runs a shelter for battered women while her father, Robert Arnove, teaches life sciences there. ‘education.

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