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My Dinner With André

4.1 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn, Jean Lenauer, Roy Butler
  • Directors: Louis Malle
  • Writers: Andre Gregory, Wallace Shawn
  • Producers: Beverly Karp, Dave Franke, George W. George, Keith W. Rouse
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: June 23 2009
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,616 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

In Louis Malle’s captivating and philosophical My Dinner with André, actor and playwright Wallace Shawn sits down with friend and theater director André Gregory at an Manhattan restaurant, and the two proceed into an alternately whimsical and despairing confessional on love, death, money, and all the superstition in between. Playing variations on their own New York–honed personas, Shawn and Gregory, who also wrote the screenplay, dive in with introspective, intellectual gusto, and Malle captures it all with a delicate, artful detachment. A fascinating freeze-frame of cosmopolitan culture, My Dinner with André remains a unique work in cinema history

The sheer audacity of My Dinner with Andre drew throngs of curious filmgoers who made the film the most talked-about art-house hit of 1981. After all, who'd ever heard of a movie consisting of nearly two hours of nonstop dinner conversation? Ah ... but this isn't just any conversation--it's the kind of mesmerizing, soul-searching, life-affirming exploration that we feel privileged to listen to, and with unobtrusive style, director Louis Malle invites us to eavesdrop to our hearts' and minds' content. The film was written by two New Yorkers at the dinner table, noted playwright-actor Wallace Shawn and well-known stage director Andre Gregory, who essentially play themselves. They taped their conversations for several weeks and Shawn gradually shaped them into a scripted conversation, but you'd never know it by watching the movie. The talk flows and flows until you're captivated by Gregory's stories of world travel and spiritual quests in Poland, India, Tibet, the Sahara desert ... the tales of a soul-searcher who'd dropped out of the theater world to rediscover his zest for living. Shawn plays the skeptic, the voice of reason, his feet on the ground but his own mind willing to soar. The cumulative effect of this conversation is almost hypnotic, and certainly plays into our eternal appetite for storytelling. Both primal and sophisticated, witty and profound, My Dinner With Andre is a film that can be savored over time, offering new revelations with each viewing as the listener-viewer develops his or her own appreciation of life's great mysteries. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I just finished this movie, and I feel like I need to simply get a few thoughts down before my head hits my pillow. I didn't know what to expect entering My Dinner With Andre - after all, it is a movie about two guys who have dinner in a restaurant and talk the whole time. But from the moment that the goofy-looking, awkward Wallace Shawn lumbers down a New York street and we hear his voice-over, I knew that something more was taking place in this movie. What it was, I had no idea.

There are no character names; there is no 'plot;' Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory, both prominent actors/playwrights of New York, meet after not having seen each other for years and they shoot the breeze. I learned that it's not as extemporaneous as I originally had imagined - Shawn and Gregory got together, recorded hours of their conversations, and then compiled a script based on them. The 'restaurant' is actually a defunct hotel, the waiters and barkeepers all actors. But there's a transcendence to it all, as the men sit and chat (mostly the powerful, lively Andre Gregory doing the talking), food being brought out to them.

What heightens the power of the film is the setup that Wallace gives in the voice-over before their dinner: Andre, the man he meets, has been living a peculiar existence traveling all over the world, when he used to never want to leave his family. A friend of Wallace's saw Andre weeks before sobbing uncontrollably on the street because he was violently moved by a line in Bergman's Autumn Sonata. Like Wallace, we don't know what to expect in the very context of the dinner conversation.
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By A Customer on July 18 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"My Dinner with Andre" is my all-time favorite film. I watch this movie often, each time of which I notice another layer of meaning. In addition to the superior dialogue and direction in this film (which other reviewers here have aptly described), the movie is rich, visually. This movie is not visually boring, despite the fact the cameras are on Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory for nearly two hours. Andre Gregory, especially, is such an engaging conversationalist that he evokes compelling mental images in the audience as to what these far away places might look like (i.e., the Sahara and the Polish forest to name a few). After all, Gregory said "I consider myself a bit of a Surrealist," meaning that the world of dream images in the mind's eye are the locus of true imagination. It's a superb use of the verbal to evoke the visual. Yes, the film is overtly naturalistic (i.e., the restaurant setting, a 2-hour meal with "real" characters), but the sheer dialogue transports one beyond mere verisimilitude.
Having the audience imagine, in their own ways, what these venues might look like is so contrary to what we get so often in American movies today. We typically get in your-face visuals and glitzy special effects (e.g., "Lord of the Rings) that allows no room for viewer imagination: its all artificially provided for you. Such films leave me, to use Gregory's words, "passive and impotent."
"My Dinner with Andre" respects its audience by reminding us what it is to be truly human. Having conversations as portrayed in this film is my ideal evening out with a good friend(s).
I can't recommend this movie enough.
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Format: DVD
Recently I made a resolution to own and review more Criterion editions of films and I've made plans to purchase one a month. This month's is Louis Malle's "My Dinner with Andre", though attributing it as the property of its director would do a great disservice to screenwriters Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, who also play the film's main characters. It had been a few years since I'd seen it, and while it unfolds in a simple and unforgettable format - two men sit in a restaurant and talk - I had forgotten exactly what about their discussions had made it such a fascinating oddity in the back of my mind.

The film opens with shots of Wally traveling across New York City to meet Andre for dinner. Wally is a meek and nervous playwright who spends his days performing the errands of the playwright who hasn't yet had a success. He has a girlfriend and worries about paying his bills. Andre is a former colleague and close friend of Wally's. Once a successful theater director, Andre all but disappeared from the country and the two haven't seen each other for years. Stories have been circulating about Andre's recent strange behaviour and emotional instability. A friend insists that Wally meet with Andre, who was discovered weeping against a wall after viewing an Ingmar Bergman movie. "He had been seized by a fit of ungovernable crying," Wally explains, "when the character played by Ingrid Bergman had said, 'I could always live in my art, but never in my life.'"

Andre appears excited and refreshed as the two men sit down to dinner in a fancy restaurant. After pleasantries are exchanged, he begins to tell Wally stories about his travels to Tibet, northern Scotland and the Sahara, relating his strange experiences abroad while Wally sits in awe, never quite knowing what to add.
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