In the nineties, André Gregory mounted a series of spare, private performances of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in a crumbling Manhattan playhouse. These treasures of pure theater would have been lost to time had they not been captured on film by Louis Malle.
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My first exposure to 'Vanya' and I selected an excellent medium. A sadly timely epic of humanity in its pettiness and aspirations, which might just be the whole of it anyway - our capacity to be cruel or kind. A stunning summation of the link between man's conquest of nature and the nature of patriarchy. Yet for all the pettiness we have this; masters of craft achieving something transcendent in art.
Quite fine, really. As moving, much of the time, and melancholy as it needs to be. But Brooke Smith simply is NOT plain, and she's right to fret to Gregory pre-performance about how awkward her performance feels; Andre's assurance, delivered with thespian elan, that "That's the point!" is not convincing, and neither, at least not entirely, is this version of the play. But when it works it evinces a terrible gravity.
Louis Malle and Andre Gregory collaborate in this piece that is a cross section of creativity and drama. The performances are an outstanding blend of theater and filmic prowess. A truly powerful thing to witness, and a culmination of everyone involved in their own artistic mediums working in orchestral harmony.
A case study on how art very much grounded in a physical location can absolutely transport us somewhere else. It is magic about magic. It has aged ridiculously well. It moves me, moves on, then moves me again. The sublime. The absolute goddamned sublime.
Ao recorrer a cenários nus e adereços e roupa de ensaio, Anthony Gregory apresenta o conceito do teatro como um artifício que atribui realidade ao universo ficcional. E Louis Malle tira proveito disso para esbater as fronteiras entre a ficção e a realidade no cinema. Apoiado na interpretação dos actores, Malle transporta o espectador para uma outra realidade, explorando a nossa credulidade e envolvimento emocional.
Pre-9/11 NYC snap-shot, the optimism of a time removed from time, a ruin renewed with love, a sort of attitude we can't view today without extreme melancholia. Every actor is pulling off one of their best works. The translation, mildly irritating: the depth of field, morosely beautiful. We are watching people actively interpret something strangely antiquated.