Monday, May 11, 2015
Mini-Review - "My Dinner With Andre" (1981)
"My Dinner With Andre" is quite possibly the simplest idea for a film - It is merely two old friends sitting down for dinner, and the conversations they have over the course of the meal.
The topics range from the experiences one of them had while traveling to far-off lands like Poland and the Sahara desert, the New York Theater, the fear of being buried alive and how society has become mechanized. Never at any point during the dinner does this actually feel like a movie, as the dialogue between these two is natural and opinionated, giving their conversations some edge to it. It feels like a casual conversation that eventually turns to a deeper and judgmental subject.
However, your mileage with "My Dinner With Andre" will vary, depending on your reaction to Andre (Andre Gregory) and Wally (Wallace Shawn) discussing how people today are automated and tend to live in their own private dream world and that this could lead to the extinction of humanity.
Granted, this is just one man's opinions, but since Andre puts this on a pedestal and swears by it, as if to mock anyone who enjoys electronic devices, that can make the middle of the film grating and eye-rolling.
"My Dinner With Andre" is at its best when Andre recollects about his many fascinating experiences. Without any sort of visual cut-aways or voice over narration, Andre describes the vast Polish landscape and its eccentric theater community, making sure to go into explicit detail and analogies as much as possible. Nothing is forced upon the audience, and it feels like we've now been apart of that ride with Andre.
Overall, "My Dinner With Andre" feels like I've taken part in a long conversation, albeit an often uncomfortable and judgmental one. The conversation does tend to ramble on at points, and does come to an abrupt end, but that is to be expected during any dinner conversation. A unique experiment in filmmaking with a unusual outcome.
Final Grade: B-