Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Dinner With Andre

Released: 1981
Runtime: 110 min.
Cast: 2 (plus 2 minor actors)
Budget: ridiculously low

The other day was Communication Adventures Day, so another guy and I decided to randomly watch a movie about communicating (kind of). I had no idea what to expect, but I now consider it one of my favorite movies ever.

Nearly the entirety of My Dinner With Andre consists of two men talking in a fancy New York restaurant, discussing the courses of their lives since they last saw each other. There is no plot. There is no resolution. There are no sword fights or gun battles. There is no romance. There is a little conflict. It's the kind of movie that requires very careful attention or else you miss so much, and you must either watch it by yourself or with those people who know how to watch good movies (i.e. silently).

Since there's no plot, there's not much to give away. One man, Andre, has spent the last several years living very eastern mystic-y in various places. The first half is basically him talking about all the things he's done and the experiences he's had traveling around the world doing crazy things. The rest of the movie is a discussion between Andre and Wally about all sorts of philosophical issues. They discuss life, what it means to be alive, a fundamental relationship between daily life and acting in the theatre, differences between people who accept life as it is and those who seek to know the deeper meaning behind it, the relationship between science and mysticism and how it beautifully ties in with the Eastern and Western worldviews, and so on and so on. It's such a beautiful philosophical movie that truly does require your utmost and careful attention lest you be bored.

The movie unintentionally leaves it as an exercise to the viewer to tie in Christianity with all things discussed in the film. There is no indication of any kind of Christian overtone (which I think is a good thing), so it's up to you to decide what it all means and what to make of it. It really makes you think. I highly recommend it--but beware, it's not for the faint of heart. If you don't approach it with an open mind, I see little to be gained. Even so it's very interesting.

As an added bonus, one of the writers (who both play themselves in the film) is Wallace Shawn, perhaps better known as Vizzini from The Princess Bride. If you listen carefully, you will hear him say the word "inconceivable" almost exactly like he does in that movie. It most certainly made me laugh my head off before I realized I was missing important stuff. Now according to my own rules, I may not claim that it's my favorite movie ever until I've seen it at least twice. Perhaps that'll be the thing to do over Thanksgiving break. (I just checked...Kalamazoo Public Library has it!)


Hannah Rose said...

Who did you watch it with?
And how did you decide to watch it?

denaje said...

I watched it with Dain. I mentioned during CAD that we should watch a movie about communication and he said he knew of the perfect movie which he's always wanted to see. So we watched it.