MONTY PYTHON: THE MEANING OF LIVE (Roger Graef, James.
MONTY PYTHON: THE MEANING OF LIVE (Roger Graef, James Rogan, UK). 92 minutes. Rating: NNNN
Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live offers far more insight than the usual backstage documentary. The doc uses the troupe’s July 2014 performances at the O2 arena in London – the first time John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin have performed on stage together since 1980, and purportedly the last – as a lever into the history, evolution and cultural significance of Monty Python.
If you’ve been waiting for a definitive examination of the Python mentality, this is it: directors Roger Graef and James Rogan followed the Pythons (minus the late Graham Chapman, of course) for months before the shows, interviewing them at length.
All five surviving members are too old to carry grudges or nurse old wounds, and they dig into their war stories with bracing honesty. It’s wonderful to see Gilliam – who came aboard last, as an interstitial animator – come to understand he’s as essential to the troupe as anyone else, and even more wonderful to see Cleese and Jones interact with real affection after decades of emotional distance.