Good Thursday evening, lovely BALKers! I hope your days have treated you well, and if not, then your nights will. For the final flick of Food Week (of which I've, sadly, missed much), we have Au revoir les enfants director Louis Malle's pensive, iconic 1981 film My Dinner with Andre, written by and starring Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn (whose widest notoriety is for playing "The Sicilian" in the Princess Bride). The film, Wikipedia says, "depicts a conversation between Gregory and Shawn (not necessarily playing themselves) at Café des Artistes. Based mostly on conversation, the film's dialogue covers such things as experimental theatre, the nature of theatre, and the nature of life, contrasting Shawn's modest, down-to-earth humanism with Gregory's extravagant spiritual experiences." I confess I've not yet seen this (it only just sprung to mind), but it's one that a much trusted friend has recommend myriad times and one also which critics adore. On the reception, again from Wikipedia:
Ebert later named it as the best film of the year. In 1999, he added it to his Great Movies essay series. He said, "Someone asked me the other day if I could name a movie that was entirely devoid of clichés. I thought for a moment, and then answered, My Dinner With Andre.".
Here is Roger Ebert's glowing review, which begins:
The idea is astonishing in its audacity: a film of two friends talking, just simply talking—but with passion, wit, scandal, whimsy, vision, hope, and despair—for 110 minutes. It sounds at first like one of those underground films of the 1960s, in which great length and minimal content somehow interacted in the dope-addled brains of the audience to provide the impression of deep if somehow elusive profundity. "My Dinner with Andre" is not like that. It doesn't use all of those words as a stunt.
They are alive on the screen, breathing, pulsing, reminding us of endless, impassioned conversations we've had with those few friends worth talking with for hours and hours. Underneath all the other fascinating things in this film beats the tide of friendship, of two people with a genuine interest in one another.
Ooh, LOOK! It's the Siskel & Ebert video review:
It's so Philip Roth/Woody Allen (without the Woody Allen—or Roth, for that matter.) Which is to say that its characters belong to that same milieu of '70s/'80s classic jazz listening wealthy uptown Manhattan artists and intellectuals. I will very interested to hear the ways in which their conversation proves transcendent, as most proclaim.
Please share your thoughts and favorite bits in the comments, if you wish! Have a cozy evening & a wonderful weekend. Enjoy the show!
Some excellent smartass did this. ;)