Lincoln Center gala a success

Redford, De Niro, Streep attend

BRAVO! AND brava to the Film Society of Lincoln Center which pulled off its 35th gala tribute on Monday night in a manner seldom realized. If we are all surfeited with award ceremonies or tributes and we are “up to here” in show business glitter and tripe — well, it was a different kettle of talented fish at Avery Fisher Hall. This night had the privilege of presenting candor deluxe, super talents, giant names, and a body of historical film work by a woman of genius — Meryl Streep. Presenters: Mike Nichols, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Uma Thurman, Garrison Keillor, Jonathan Demme, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams. Missing co-stars were Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Cher. Between laughing and crying as Meryl was shown onscreen in all her infinite variety, plus in person — I stopped “reporting” and just enjoyed myself. An audience exhausted by its elation, its emotion and its enthusiasm for the evening, received a smashing ending to the events onstage. Meryl herself provided the denouement. She first told of her fears for the night itself — finding “the dress,” seating her family with the celebrities, the fearsome dinner yet to come, the sentiment of thinking about those she’d worked with who were no longer with us (such as Alan Pakula), and the very idea of asking peers she loved most to come speak about her. Then she launched into a tale of herself 40 years ago at Vassar when she’d been asked, in her acting class, to cry on command. She recited a scene where she had imagined herself at age 60, on a stage, receiving high accolades at the peak of her career, and the presentment then of what was going on this very night. It was quite incredible. As she often does, Meryl made fun of herself in this outing and made fun of her fame while at the same time, relishing it.

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