My Dinner with André didn’t have to be a film. Except for the opening, the whole movie is set in a restaurant where two men, Wally Shawn (Wallace Shawn) and André Gregory (Andre Gregory), meet each other again after a couple of years and just talk to each other for two hours. The camera hardly moves and the shots of the two men is all there is to it. It’s mainly André talking, who talks about his experiences. What he went through in the forests in Poland, how he was buried alive in England or how he ate sand in the Sahara desert. All moments he’s been through, looking for something, moments which made him think about what it means to be alive. Gregory tells the stories full of conviction and, just like for example Stephen Tobolowsky’s podcasts, you hear what he’s telling but create your own imagery to go along with it. André listens, but doesn’t always go along with Wally’s views and the two discuss their differences. One important question they ask is when can you really say you are living?
And still, the fact that My Dinner with André has been made using the medium of film has made sure I’ve seen it. Roger Ebert said about this title that it can’t be compared to anything else, which is true. It might be a movie not everyone will find interesting. Some will find it boring or overly long, but the subject matter the two man talk about is fascinating and the questions they ask still relevant today. And that makes it a title I really can appreciate. Not for it’s visuals, because they aren’t that special, but mainly for its content.