Tristram Shandy: a Cock and Bull story
Michael Winterbottom :: UK :: 2006 :: 1h30
Actor on the set of the filming of an eighteenth century drama. In and out of costumes, crew everywhere around the country house, his girlfriend and his son, his mistress, the actor walks in and out of scenes like Marcello Mastroianni in Otto e Mezzo, on which the movie is clearly inspired. Everyone is talking, at times humorous at times just tedious, we feel like we just spend a day of labour in a profession we barely know. But the curious thing is, that the characters in the film seem to know even less about cinema than the average member of the audience. The movie, which we will never see, can only become an artistic success by some miraculous divine force guiding the project, as of all the people involved, no one has any overview of the production.
The unambiguous French title is a perfect description of the movie, as it is little more than a ‘cinema set in an English garden’. The UK title may leave you to think that the movie is about the film being made in the movie, which is clearly not the case. Unless you would consider ‘living’ to be the guiding force in life, the subject matter of the film-in-the-film is really irrelevant. Spending time on watching this is of course completely futile, as no doubt the resulting film-in-film would be if they had completed it. But, it must be said that the opening scene, of the two rival (co-)lead actors involved in a discussion about the color of the teeth of one of them, is very funny. But to have to sit through one and a half hours more of walking and talking … perhaps a thought for those on holiday to remind them of the charms and seriousness of professional life, should they be nostalgic. Perhaps that was the thought of the continental distributor releasing this work 6 months too late in France, coinciding with the release of the DVD. Hard to picture more nonchalance in the movie industry.
PS do not miss the website- it’s very creative. Of course it was made by the intern…