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My Dinner With Andre Review

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Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn appear to play themselves having dinner, with Shawn quizzing Andre about what his recent life and activities.

★★★★★

Directed by Louis Malle and workshopped by protagonists Wallace Shawn and André Gregory, this is an ambitious attempt to compel viewers into imagining worlds beyond the screen solely through words and ideas. In essence it’s an experiment in theatrical avant-gardism that has been transformed into animated radio by the presence of a camera.

However, so discreet is Malle’s technique that it virtually disappears amid the torrent of philosophies and experiences that gush forth in answer to Shawn’s dinner-table inquiry about what Gregory’s been doing in the five years since they last met. Several tales are entertainingly vivid. But Gregory is often self-indulgently loquacious and swamps Shawn, whose closing narrative leaves one wishing he’d been given more latitude to express himself.

A completely merited cult favourite of the avant-garde genre. This is surprisingly compelling in places.

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