Roger Ebert review:
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. Continue reading
Told with fondness and precision, and set in France at the time of the IndoChina War (which later became an American problem known as the Vietnam War), this controversial feature handles teen coming-of-age, sexuality and even incest with a gentleness that disappointed the prurient and shocked the conservative. This is one of director Louis Malle’s finest films: others include The Fire Within and Au Revoir Les Enfants. Laurent (Benoit Ferreux) is 14 years old and anxious to lose his virginity. However, he has a very close family circle, and, between the family and school, he is too closely watched to get anywhere. He makes the most of an opportunity to neck with the girls at his older brothers’ party and later almost gets to lose his virginity in a bordello, but his boisterously drunken brothers interrupt him. His real opportunity arises while his mother takes him for a rest-cure for his heart murmur at a very conventional spa. by Clarke Fountain Continue reading
A group of actors arrive in a rundown theater in the heart of New York City. For the next couple of hours, they are going to rehearse Anton Chekhov’s play Uncle Vanya.
The actors gather around a small table placed in the middle of the stage and begin acting.
Uncle Vanya has spent the majority of his life working for Serybryakov, the snobbish husband of his late sister. For the modest amount of 500 rubles per year, he has carefully managed Serybryakov’s estate, which the old man is now planning to sell.
Uncle Vanya is frustrated – but not only because Serybryakov wants to sell the estate. The old man has returned home with his beautiful wife, Yelena (Julianne Moore), whom Uncle Vanya loves. She knows about his feelings but has chosen to ignore them because she understands that having a relationship with another man after years of marriage simply isn’t right. But Uncle Vanya has incorrectly assumed that Yelena is ignoring him because he is poor. Continue reading
THE FIRE WITHIN: DAY OF THE DEAD
When he shot The Fire Within in the spring of 1963, Louis Malle had already established a strong reputation. Incredibly precocious, he won a Palme d’Or at the age of twenty-four, at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival, for the underwater documentary The Silent World, photographed and codirected with oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. One year later he anticipated the French New Wave with Elevator to the Gallows, scored by Miles Davis and starring a young Jeanne Moreau, who also starred in his next film, The Lovers, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1958 and created a scandal with its explicit eroticism. His follow-up, an audacious 1960 adaptation of Raymond Queneau’s farcical novel Zazie dans le métro, further proved his fondness for literary sources, and 1962’s Vie privée created a stir by featuring Brigitte Bardot in one of her more complex roles. Continue reading