My dinner with Andre (1981) - directed by by Louis Malle       

"A majority is always the best repartee" (Disraeli)     
                              

Having been described as "brilliant" in my work at senior philosophy studies at a major western university 
(a comment from the course professor who was the associate chair of the department), I am always up 
to the job when I have to allow myself the edification of a differing perspective in what there might be in
 the way of an argument needing rebuttal and correction (if you will pardon the presumptiveness here - 
its well intentioned I put it to you). As such I have to tell you that I have only once fallen asleep at a
 movie theater unable to sit through the entire ordeal without some means of escape. This was the 
movie and I saw it a couple of decades ago when it first came to town (in 1981).

This is an important movie for discussion among all human beings who want to make a choice to seek
 substantive, wholesome real answers and to avoid the flights into inanity and indeed insanity that are 
the stuff of the script writers here and the obvious preference of the two characters in the play.

Although pitted in discussion at some frivolous and superficial level as seemingly at times even
 antagonistic towards each other, rather than showing complete deference to what is being said by 
the character "Andre", the fact is that fundamentally these two individuals are altogether on the same
 wavelength at the most basic levels of relating to other human beings in their midst - despite a major
 difference in the level of the facade and style of relating as it were. That said, we see in the movie script
 that this difference in style does cause differences to occur and to crop up between them in what they 
say to each other. What is more worth noting is that the level of conversation they are both engaged in
 is certainly the stuff of their own genre in the way of evolutionary development. What I mean to say is 
that they are not people of the genre who have the intuitive sort of wisdom that one might associate 
with humanistic philosophy, based on the very obvious statements and manner in the presentation
 thereof, and of course in the level of tolerance of such views.

As such the intelligence in their conversation, such as it is, is at all times a contrivance, an attempt to
 create a different reality from what it is that involves normal human functioning, and different modes 
and fantasies of escape into the inane, with admitted schizophrenic like symptoms being experienced
along the way as is disclosed by the character in the play named "Andre" played by Andre Gregory 
himself (the writer in addition). In these flights into the inane, the seeming ability to generate a thought, 
of any real meaning in terms of having true validity and real value, (in a sane sort of way) seems to
command the entire scope of the movie as a way of suggesting that the level of analysis of issues (of 
these types of characters), in and of itself, of what is normal, the perversion of it somehow into something
 inane, a differing from what is normally intuitive, that this all amounts to wisdom of sorts and even
 brilliance. At some point in the conversation, the characters cannot agree to hold to this sort of
 ridiculous philosophizing even between themselves, and mainly it becomes clear that they have been
 engaged in what Socrates would refer to as the stuff of sophists rather than philosophers in true fashion. 
As such, I beg to differ with the description in a torrent description on the internet that describes the movie
 as "brilliant, brilliant' (an obvious reference to the characters in the movie individually, and those that are
 cut from the same cloth (who would make such supportive comments to and for each other) no doubt.

Instead, I suggest that all thinking people, should have this movie and make it as widely available to
 others as possible, as a way to put others on guard against a form of charlatanism. The perpetration 
of inanity cloaked and dressed up as intellectual genius because the manner of the person expressing
 it seems to suggest that they have that opinion of themselves.  The opinion is invalid as I think anyone
 with an intelligent mind listening to this trash would have to agree. In any event, "en guarde" as they say 
in fencing as that is the best way to be in the presence of the inane. I have to agree, I cannot replace my
 reality by a resort to a journey to the Himalayas in order to find "in the mountains, a better wisdom than 
there is in the West". that is a statement made in the movie by the other main actor Wallace Shawn (also
 co-writer on the project), and I am on side with the sentiment altogether, although I somehow doubt his
veracity in making the comment as I read his views and disposition on things in totality.

Michael Rizzo Chessman
michael@moviesbyrizzo.info

 


   

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