×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Monty Python: The Meaning of Live’

The famed British comedy troupe's first live gigs in 34 years are chronicled in this affectionate docu.

With:
John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones. Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, Prof. Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking, Mike Myers.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4256544/

Gold for fans, though unlikely to mean much to anyone else, “The Meaning of Live” chronicles the reunion of surviving Monty Python’s Flying Circus members as the famed comedy troupe plays its first live shows in 34 years. Mixing a performance record with a light recap of the group’s original heyday, Roger Graef and James Rogan’s documentary premiered on British TV last fall. Its current fest run is high-profile yet unlikely to generate much further bigscreen interest, with tube and download sales remaining the ingratiating pic’s principal outlets.

The five Pythons (Graham Chapman died in 1989) decide to perform live for the first time since 1980, for the simple reason that a lawsuit (underexplained here) has had a serious impact on some members’ finances. Ergo, they’re doing a 10-day run at London’s O2 stadium, where they’ll play nightly to crowds of 15,000 who’ll mostly have their eyes glued to the Jumbo-Tron. Amid a blaze of media attention, we see them get reacquainted, begin rehearsals, and perform shows that are primarily exercises in nostalgia for audiences who can recite each sketch line-by-line.

Between stage sequences (which end somewhat anti-climactically with a guest appearance by Mike Myers), the docu looks back at their glory days, somehow managing to skip the feature films (“Holy Grail,” “Life of Brian,” “Meaning of Life”). Their pleasure in each others’ company is infectious, though any viewers previously unfamiliar with the absurdist material are likely to wonder just what all the fuss is about.

Packaging is pro.

Film Review: 'Monty Python: The Meaning of Live'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, April 30, 2015. (In Hot Docs, Tribeca film festivals.) Running time: 96 MIN.

Production: (Documentary — U.K.) A Python Pictures production in association with Phil McIntryre Entertainment and Films of Record. Produced by Holly Gilliam, Jim Beach, Lindsay Jex. Executive producers, Lucy Ansbro, Hilary Rosen, Richard Watsham.

Crew: Directed by Roger Graef, James Rogan. Camera (color, HD), Paul Shammasian, Rogan, Charles Laing, Oliver Cheetham, Rogan, Luke Hallam; editors, Simon Barker, David Atkinson; sound, Ollie Nesham, Steve Massey; sound designer, Rory Madden.

With: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones. Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, Prof. Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking, Mike Myers.

More Film

  • Sygeplejeskolen sc 205

    Claudia Boderke, Lars Mering Talk ‘The New Nurses,’ Gender, Class

    The inevitable comparison for SF Studios’ “The New Nurses,” at least from a Danish broadcast perspective, is “Something’s Rockin,’” another 2018 TV 2 Charlie show which was retro but forward-looking. “Something’s Rockin’” described the birth of an independent radio with culture in Denmark. Produced by SF Studios’ Senia Dremstrup (“Norskov”),  “The New Nurses” talks cleverly [...]

  • Robert Redford

    Robert Redford to Receive Honorary Cesar Award

    Legendary American actor and director Robert Redford is set to receive an honorary Cesar award, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, at the 44th annual César ceremony, which will take place on Feb. 22 in Paris. “An iconic actor, an exceptional director, a passionate producer, founder and president of Sundance, the most revered festival of independent [...]

  • Goteborg: Co-writer Hakan Lindhe on Viaplay’s

    Co-Writer Hakan Lindhe on Politics, Image in Viaplay’s ‘The Inner Circle’

    David Ehrling, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise, who is tipped to be its next Prime Minister, spends a lot of the time in Sweden’s “The Inner Circle” not preparing his speeches, or in impassioned discussion of key political issues, but staring into the mirror, rain checking on his strong-jawed image. He spends much of his enterprise, [...]

  • 'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit On His

    'Invisibles' Director Louis-Julien Petit on his Socially-Minded Smash

    PARIS —  Far from a dumping ground, the months of January and February have become synonymous in France with the kinds of highly polished crowd-pleasing comedies that dominate the annual box-office. This year is no exception, only nestled among the likely blockbusters “Serial Bad Weddings 2” and “City Hunter” is Louis-Julien Petit’s socially minded dramedy [...]

  • "The Continent," directed by Chinese racer

    Alibaba Pictures Buys Into Chinese Director Han Han's Film Studio

    Alibaba Pictures confirmed that it has invested an undisclosed amount in Chinese celebrity blogger-turned-film director Han Han’s Shanghai Tingdong Film. Han’s upcoming “Pegasus” is one of the most anticipated films of the year in China. Alibaba Pictures, part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is now the second-largest stakeholder in Tingdong. It has a 13.1% stake, according to Chinese [...]

  • Nicolas Philibert Talks Nursing Documentary 'Each

    Nicolas Philibert: 'A Director Driven To Make A Statement Cannot Make Cinema'

    PARIS  — For over two decades, French documentarian Nicolas Philibert has examined his country’s various public institutions with a watchmaker’s calm and anthropologist’s curiosity. In films like “To Be and To Have,” “La Maison de la Radio” and “Louvre City,” he’s taken his camera into schoolhouses, broadcast hubs and the world’s most famous museum. His [...]

  • 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Film Review: 'Don't Come Back from the Moon'

    Cinematographer-turned-director Bruce Thierry Cheung offers an artful and affecting mix of harshly defined specifics and impressionistic storytelling in “Don’t Come Back from the Moon,” a cumulatively poignant drama about absent fathers and abandoned families in an economically devastated desert community. Structured more like a tone poem than a conventional narrative, it’s an elliptical memory play [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content