My Dinner With Andre
- The Film:4.0
Only an artist unafraid to fail could contemplate making such a strange film. In 1981,...
Only an artist unafraid to fail could contemplate making such a strange film. In 1981, Louis Malle (Atlantic City, Au Revoir Les Enfants) was such a man. My Dinner With Andre is still a unique work, a testimony to ideas and to pure conversation explicitly setting its face against mere entertainment. The idea is bold and simple. The New York actor and writer Wallace Shawn goes to have a big dinner with his long term theatre director friend Andre Gregory. That's it.
At first, it seems that Gregory, who does almost all the talking, is a typical neurotic Woody Allen-type figure obsessed with the inauthenticity of life. He's been going through all sorts of whacky encounter group schemes in order to get beyond this neurosis and, as he recounts this, he warms to the theme that we are all asleep or drugged by reality and unable to truly feel or connect. Shawn is initially as mesmerised as we are by Gregory's brilliant stream of consciousness, but eventually finds the guts and common sense to mount a defence for the value of the small pleasures of the everyday. Somewhat amazingly, this "non-film" is still a satisfying meal for the mind.