My Dinner with André the Giant

Date: 2007
Posted by: Alex Itin
Credits: Created by Alex Itin
Cast: none
Duration: 2.02

American painter and experimental filmmaker Alex Itin is a member of The Future of the Book, “a small think-and-do tank investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens”. With his starting point the celebrated Wallace Shawn play (and Louis Malle film) My Dinner with André (1981), in which two men debate a wide range of cultural themes over a meal, Itin creates a sampled video by associations. He describes his film thus:

The video is my play on Wallace Shawn and Shakespeare along the way to Orson Welles doing Lear and Mobydick… The drawing of what seems to be Italy with Chinese is from Imagination in The Library. I think he hails from China. The kicked by Sexy Italian Boot Sicily is from my brush wiping page next to the moby ink pot. It’s random, but I thought sort of pretty. It is from the pages of an old book on chess strategy. The Chinese say, “Life is Chess (war); Living is strategy and tactics”.

Also buried within lies the witch from Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (based on Macbeth), alongside Brando in Apocalypse Now, The Third Man, The Kinks, and who knows what else besides (the background pages come from Moby Dick via an earlier Itin video – he recycles his own material as well as that of others). It’s an absurdist delight, with a magnificent title (André the Giant was a wrestler and actor popular in America) and a sublime closing dissolve from camera in the hand to skull in the hand. Sometimes movies should only be like this.

Another Green World (‘remix’ of some of the same footage)
IT IN place
Vimeo page

Hamlet – the video blogger

Date: 2007
Posted by: LivingPassion
Credits: Filmed by Stefani Waters
Cast: Stefani Waters (Hamlet)
Duration: 4.32

American student and vlogger Stefani Waters decides to make a switch from reporting the personal to the camera to reciting Shakespeare. She gives readings of the soliloquies ‘I have of late, but wherefore I know not’ and ‘To be or not to be’ from Hamlet, in the same confessional mode as she does for her regular vlogs. The renditions are fine, every word heavy with meaning, the eyes at time engaged with the camera, at other times needing to look away. How curious it is that speeches that were designed for delivery to a theatre filled with people work so naturally in this intimate one-to-one setting. But it’s not really curious at all. The theatre for Shakespeare was only a means to an end, which was to speak to an audience. The more we experience Shakespeare outside the theatre’s narrow confines the better.

YouTube page