Mary J. Blige and Monty Python Live at the Tribeca Film Festival

Mary J. Blige - The London Sessions and Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live to première.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Mary J. Blige - The London Sessions at the Tribeca Film Festival
Mary J. Blige - The London Sessions at the Tribeca Film Festival

The World Premiere of Mary J. Blige - The London Sessions with Sam Smith, Disclosure, Sam Romans, Emeli Sandé and Naughty Boy directed by Sam Wrench and Monty Python naughty boys, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Eric Idle being celebrated on the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python And The Holy Grail are two of the live rousing special events at the Tribeca Film Festival.

James Rogan and Roger Graef's Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live
James Rogan and Roger Graef's Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live

The international premiere of James Rogan and Roger Graef's documentary Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live and Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life and Life Of Brian round out the festivities with Q&As following each screening.

Mary J. Blige, in London Sessions, says it is "freedom" she likes about recording in London. It's about the music and not about how fancy the studio is, she comments in her car, that drives her from location to location and where most of the interviews with her take place. We see her meet the musicians and the father of Amy Winehouse.

Blige, who likes to talk of herself in the third person, comments on "what Mary would do." One of the songs, Help You Find Your Self-Esteem, sung to her by the composer Sam Smith while he is chewing gum, touches her deeply. "God sent this one," she says and knows its theme will resonate with her audience. She likes a song that "makes me want to dance and also makes me want to cry." Emeli Sandé loves working with her and calls Mary a "humble giant." The "voice of women in pain" meets Mr. Winehouse the day after the third anniversary of his daughter's death and Mary speaks openly about her own history with drugs and alcohol.

Monty Python And The Holy Grail, directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam
Monty Python And The Holy Grail, directed by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam

The most recent series of farewell staged extravaganzas, One Down Five To Go at The O2 in London last July - farewell seems to have been the motto of all their live tours since1973 - is the subject of the enthralling documentary that gives us, albeit self-conscious, insight into the minds of the five surviving Pythons re-uniting for this best-of show. What Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live does address is how vastly different the five are in character and demeanor in front of the camera. You can read their conflicts in the clothes they wear and how they present themselves. Eric Idle wears snakeskin (faux-python?) and has chartreuse walls behind him in most of his interviews.

Terry Jones opts for black shirts and jackets, a style world apart from John Cleese's navy polo shirt under navy blazer. Michael Palin has good shirts and always looks stylish, even when dressed in the infamous plaid or as his own mother, and Terry Gilliam favours wild patterned shirts and wooly intestines coming out of his exploding stomach on stage. Together they are wonderful and as funny as ever. The film gives you both, a look at the surface of the men and a chance to revisit your old favorites, dead parrots, funny walks, inquisitions, the pope, a kangaroo, fish slapping, and as a special treat - a physical and musical attack by the real Stephen Hawking.

Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life, directed by Terry Jones
Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life, directed by Terry Jones

“It is hard to believe that Holy Grail was first shown 40 years ago,” said Paula Weinstein, Executive Vice President, Tribeca Enterprises. “The film is so brilliant and the Pythons’ influence on contemporary comedy in cinema and television is so enduring that it feels as fresh today as it did decades ago. We are honored to welcome the Pythons to Tribeca and to share stories of their groundbreaking process with our audience through the international premiere of Monty Python - The Meaning Of Live.”

On the Holy Grail:

"It’s amazing how lack of money saved us from mediocrity. We couldn’t afford real horses," said Terry Gilliam.

Michael Palin: "The Pythons are looking forward very much to the Tribeca Film Festival and the chance to meet anyone who can remember why we made Monty Python And The Holy Grail. All we know is that it was a documentary about coconuts that rather lost its way. If anyone at Tribeca can explain why we made it and didn't call it Braveheart then our visit to New York will not have been wasted.”

Monty Python's Life Of Brian directed by Terry Jones
Monty Python's Life Of Brian directed by Terry Jones

Eric Idle continued, "I often had the feeling the movie might make a good Broadway musical…."

Mary J. Blige - The London Sessions will be screened at the Beacon Theatre on April 16 at 8:00pm, followed by a performance from Mary J. Blige.

Monty Python And the Holy Grail will be presented by directors Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones with John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin at the Beacon Theatre on April 24 at 7:30pm.

Monty Python's Life Of Brian, directed by Terry Jones, will be screened at Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 9 on April 25 at 12:30pm.

Monty Python: The Meaning Of Live screens at the SVA Theatre on April 25 at 3:30pm.

Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life, directed by Terry Jones, screens at the Regal Cinemas Battery Park Stadium 11 on April 26 at 1:30pm.

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