“Zelig” is a holy text of absurdism.
Rather than necessary and constant striving towards an unknowable god, the deity of “Zelig” - is assimilation. Seeking it out is just as obligatory, and just as futile, as the search for one all-powerful figure.
The character of Zelig creates meaning through the appropriation of others’ meanings - able transform himself into a manifestation of whomever he is with at any given time. It begins as a survival mechanism, and evolves into a harmful addiction.
In the tradition of its base philosophical concept, the film doesn’t frame Zelig as a villain for his ceaseless slipperiness. Director Woody Allen (who, of course, plays Zelig) instead insists that Zelig’s transformations are an imperative manifestation of…