My Dinner With Andre

My Dinner With Andre

Director: Louis Malle Cast: Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory, Roy Butler
3.8 5

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My Dinner With Andre

My Dinner With Andre may have been the most audacious film Louis Malle made over the course of a career full of daring projects -- the notion of a full-length feature that's just two men talking over dinner sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, but Malle, with the help of actors and screenwriters Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, managed to make this recorded conversation compelling, entertaining and genuinely cinematic, allowing the power of the words to carry the picture while the visuals were both subtle and keenly intelligent. While Fox Lorber released My Dinner With Andre on DVD in 1998, the Criterion Collection's 2009 edition of the film is markedly superior and is easily the movie's best presentation on home video to date. My Dinner With Andre has been given a widescreen transfer to disc, letterboxed at the 1.66:1 aspect ratio on conventional televisions and enhanced for anamorphic playback on 16:9 monitors. My Dinner With Andre was shot with 16mm film stock on a quick production schedule, and even under optimal circumstances this isn't going to be one of the best-looking discs Criterion has ever released, but this edition reduces the film grain as much as possible, presents an accurate and attractive color balance, and sources the material from a clean print with no blemishes -- it's the most attractive presentation the film has had on home video to date, and looks just as good as it did in theaters on its initial release. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the audio cleanup is impressive, making this version a major sonic improvement over the Fox Lorber release. The dialogue is in English, with optional English subtitles but no multiple language options. Given the film's simplicity, it's fitting that the bonus materials included with this release are very straightforward. The complete film appears on disc one, and disc two includes new interviews with Gregory and Shawn (both conducted by Noah Baumbach) as they talk about the genesis of the project and working with Louis Malle. Also on disc two is My Dinner With Louis, a 1981 profile of Malle (produced for the BBC cultural affairs series Arena) in which he's interviewed at length by Shawn while clips from his films illustrate Shawn's analysis of Malle's life and work. Finally, the accompanying booklet includes a new and informative essay by Amy Taubin as well as short introductions Gregory and Shawn wrote for the published version of the screenplay. My Dinner With Andre remains a singular cinematic achievement, and Criterion have at last treated it like the unique triumph it is; if you've never seen this film before, Criterion's top-notch DVD edition should give you a perfect excuse to absorb its eclectic wisdom.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/23/2009
UPC: 0715515046114
Original Release: 1981
Rating: NR
Source: Criterion
Region Code: 1
Time: 1:51:00
Sales rank: 3,266

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer; New video interviews with actors André Gregory and Wallace Shawn by filmmaker and friend Noah Baumbach; "My Dinner With Louis" an episode from the BBC program Arena, in which Shawn interviews director Louis Malle; A booklet featuring an essay written by critic Amy Taubin and the preface written by Gregory and Shawn for the published screenplay

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- My Dinner With André
1. Logos/Opening Credits [:43]
2. "The Life of a Playwright Is Tough" [8:59]
3. In a Forest in Poland [14:19]
4. The Little Prince [4:42]
5. Kozan, A Buddhist Priest [7:04]
6. One's Own Flag [3:22]
7. Findhorn [2:43]
8. Halloween in Montauk [8:43]
9. An Insance Dreamworld [11:32]
10. The Dangers of Comfort [9:40]
11. The Sleeping Audience [4:48]
12. The Real World [2:40]
13. Gustav Björnstrand [7:09]
14. "Do You Want to Hear My Actual Response?" [11:44]
15. To Be [10:24]
16. The Ride Home [2:57]
17. Color Bars [:00]
Disc #2 -- My Dinner With André
1. Human Decay and Growth [5:40]
2. Quests, Scandals and Wars [7:12]
3. A Monster Prodigy [4:53]
4. Incomprehensible India [5:54]
5. Traveling With Cousteau [1:53]
6. Two Films About Right and Wrong [12:12]
7. Our Confused Capitalist Country [6:27]
8. Fiction and Documentary [7:54]

Customer Reviews

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My Dinner With Andre 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen this movie several times and have always discovered new revelations during each viewing. Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory are brilliant. They spend almost the entire time before the cameras in animated conversation while eating dinner in a small restaurant in New York City. The conversation is unforgettable and the reason it will not soon leave my memory is that I feel I was there at the table with them. This effect is due to the considerable skills of the director, Louis Malle. Shawn has been a busy actor and playwright throughout his career with frequent appearances in various productions such as VANYA ON 42ND STREET, a movie with the same kind of appeal as MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. Gregory has worked primarily as a stage director. Louis Malle is also an excellent director with many film credits including VANYA ON 42ND STREET.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In MY DINNER WITH ANDRE (1981), directed by Louis Malle, two New York intellectuals (real life stage director André Gregory and actor Wallace Shawn, who together wrote the unscripted-sounding script) have a reunion in a chic restaurant and, over a fine and many-coursed meal, talk about their lives. Some people think the film is deadly boring; others (as I) love it. André and Wally could not be more different; yet I think of them as merely two sides of one person: dreamer, pragmatist. Over the course of the evening, with brief interruptions by an elderly, cadaverish waiter (whose tics and blinks suggest that he is bewildered by the oddity of the men he's serving), each diner does his best to explain how he’s coping with the world -- André talks to trees and Wally is happy if there’s not a dead fly in his cold cup of coffee. When they finally part, Wally treats himself to a taxi ride home. It’s night. Gazing out the window, he narrates that he remembers every block, every shopfront from his childhood; yet he stares as if he’s seeing the world for the very first time. It's as if, over his dinner with André, Wally had somehow been, in a tiny way, reborn.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I am very glad I finally decided to get this movie on DVD. This movie is absolutely fascinating.
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