Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)

Vanya on 42nd Street
Director: Louis Malle
Writer: Andre Gregory
Based on: David Mamet‘s adaptation of Anton Chekhov‘s play Uncle Vanya
Cast: Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, Larry Pine, Brooke Smith, Lynn Cohen, George Gaynes, Phoebe Brand, Jerry Mayer
Seen on: 13.1.2019

In a run-down theater on 42nd street, a group of actors come together to rehearse their take on Uncle Vanya. In the play, Vanya (Wallace Shawn) is the caretaker of Serybryakov’s (George Gaynes) estate and used to be his brother-in-law. Now Serybryakov returns to the estate in the countryside with his new, much younger wife Yelena (Julianne Moore), upsetting the balance that was achieved in his absence.

Vanya on 42nd Street is a very minimalist film. It feels a bit like an experiment of how far you can boil things down. Unfortunately, the film cut away too much – in the end, my interest was reduced away, too.

The film poster showing Yelena's (Julianne Moore) facen, and much smaller Vanya (Wallace Shawn) and Andre Gregory in front of the theater.
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Onkel Wanja [Uncle Vanya] (2017)

Onkel Wanja
Director: Anna Martinetz
Writer: Anna Martinetz
Based on: Anton Chekhov‘s play
Cast: Martin Butzke, Korinna Krauss, Wolfgang Hübsch, Julia Dietze, Manuel Rubey, Michael Kranz, Marion Krawitz, Katalin Zsigmondy, Doris Buchrucker, Karl Knaup
Part of: Diagonale
Seen on: 14.3.2018

Alexander (Wolfgang Hübsch) has withdrawn to his uncle Wanja’s (Martin Butzke) country estate to escape the financial crisis that is shaking the city and has caused a revolution. In the country, things still are mostly the same and Wanja and Sonja (Korinna Krauss) want to keep it that way. But Alexander and his wife Elena (Julia Dietze) have business ideas – lots of them.

Onkel Wanja is an ambitious project that tries a lot but it’s unfortunately also one that fails a lot. For me it was mostly marked by feeling long and exhausting, although there were a few bits that were pretty strong.

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