This stirring 1994 work by Louis Malle brought the legendary French filmmaker into another collaboration with actors-writers-directors Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, scribes and stars of the great My Dinner with Andre. The situation here is that Shawn and Gregory were participants in a years-long, informal project remounting a production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya every few months for select friends and the general worthiness of the idea. Wearing street clothes and strolling to a crumbling New Amsterdam theater on Broadway, actors Shawn, Julianne Moore, George Gaynes, Brooke Smith, Larry Pine, Phoebe Brand, Lynn Cohen, and others would do a full run of the text (as sharply translated by David Mamet) while a beaming Gregory (the play's director) looked on. Malle--who died following this film--spent a few days transforming the theatrical experiment into a viable film that maintained the company's unusual purpose and spirit. The result is something between a narrative feature and a documentary about an acting workshop, and is both highly entertaining and cinematically enthralling. A terrific final note in Malle's distinguished career, this is a must-see for anyone who cared about his work or who has a passion for Chekhov. --Tom Keogh
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