Is That All There Is? (Lindsay Anderson / United Kingdom, 1993):

Lindsay Anderson directs himself at home for BBC's The Director's Place program -- he wakes up to calamitous news on the radio, drops an Alka-Seltzer tablet into his wine glass and settles before the telly, which inevitably broadcasts Lethal Weapon 3. Amid the suds in the tub, the septuagenarian is mock-startled to see posters from If... and O Lucky Man, as if they had been put up on the bathroom walls overnight; he finds his own book, About John Ford, staring at him from the bookstore window display ("Would you like me to sign it?" "Well, Iíd rather you didnít..."). A filmmakerís twilight self-portrait can be awfully arid, unless the filmmaker is a prankster like Godard (JLG/JGL) or Anderson, filling the spaces between wry ruminations with family, friends and jokes. The poet Bernard Kops drops by for wine and grousing, actor David Sterne tries out an American Southern accent, longtime screenwriter David Sherwin surveys rejected screen and theatrical projects with Anderson, who is "still hoping." Filmmaking and criticism are now memories, reports of radioactive gas and the "embarrassing public debate" of the Royal Family constitute the world outside Andersonís London apartment: TV is grudgingly accepted, it has Ron Howard spouting bullshit yet Fort Apache still plays majestically on it. Creativity, responsibility, mortality -- Alan Price sings the title tune at a funeral, where Anderson reveals the graciousness behind the prickliness by ceding the spotlight over to his friend Jill Bennett, whose ashes are scattered on the River Thames. With David Storey, Alexander Anderson, Brian Pettifer, Tom Sutcliffe, Rosemary Martin, and Kathy Burke.

--- Fernando F. Croce

Back to Reviews
Back Home