Vanya on 42nd Street

Director: Louis Malle
Year Released: 1994
Rating: 3.0

André Gregory and Wallace Shawn team up (again!), this time with Gregory as director and Shawn as one of Chekhov's most endearing characters, Uncle Vanya, as he and his other cast-mates 'rehearse' the play in the dilapidated New Amsterdam Theater in Manhattan. While there's no denying the power of Chekhov's source material (adapted by David Mamet), it's still a filmed play, regardless of the artificial 'setup' of making it a 'rehearsal' and having director Gregory sit by and observe (he doesn't offer any direction except when they should break for snacks). Malle presses the camera into his performers' faces, but it doesn't make it any more 'powerful' than if one were sitting in the audience, watching the play 'the normal way' (with the actors on stage, with props, etc.).