Monty Python: The Meaning of Live (2014) Review

Monty Python: The Meaning of Live was shown on this year’s CPH: DOX Festival in Copenhagen. The screening was graced with the presence of one of the directors (James Rogan) and a producer who also happens to be Terry Gilliam’s kid (Holly Gilliam). It was Holly who came up with the idea of creating this documentary. As an already grown-up daughter of one of the Pythons, she admitted she never saw them together, except on the telly of course. So when she found out of the planned getting together to discuss the upcoming show in 2014, she jumped on the opportunity and showed up with the trusted camera and a friend. She felt it was a must, especially because there were absolutely no video archives of the group!

“The primary narrative of the nonlinear documentary Monty Python: The Meaning of Live focuses on the historic live reunion show the troupe performed for 10 nights at the O2 Arena in London in July 2014. The show was titled Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five To Go”. (source: Way Too Indie)

Eric Idle says that it is not normal in his opinion that people still like Monty Python. Pythons first appeared on television in 1969 and since then they produced 24 TV Shows, 5 feature films, and countless Live Shows. The narrator suggests that the type of humor they present happen to be understood universally: human behaviour is borderless. And with that, next to the surreal satire of the elites, they won over huge audience all over the world.

In the interviews they talk about their off-stage relationships or the lack of such, their mutual dynamic and basically they strip down their souls and share their professional secrets – the viewer can learn almost everything about the comedy itself. John Cleese shares all the instances when after telling a joke to 50 000 people, nobody laughed. Admitting to it and recovering from the moment was for him the most difficult things he had to encounter. But that’s why it is so great. The Pythons are old enough to be completely honest. They don’t care about the media appearance and clearly don’t withhold any informations. Their honesty is the best currency in bio documentaries like this one.

They took a decent part of the interview in order to remember Graham Chapman, a deceased member of the group and a raging alcoholic at some point. Pythons talk about all the tensions within the group and how hard it was to compromise, especially when you have a bunch of individuals like them. One of the thing that resulted after making this movie (according to Holly Graham) is that John and Eric became friends, which was completely not the case before…

There was the gossip when I was 14 and started watching the Flying Circus that they all met in the psychiatric hospital as the patients and during the group therapy they came up with the premise of the show. The funny thing is that this story was/is totally believable. It could’ve happened. It is almost impossible for 6 individuals like them to come together and create something so precious and recognizable without killing one another.

Read more: The Hollywood Reporter Review and 10 Best Monty Python Quotes.

It’s a great ride for any Pythons fan or (in case you’re still not convinced) there is an interesting cameo on the show…so if you would like to hear Stephen Hawking sing (!!!) WATCH IT!

Details: Production company: Python (Monty) Pictures. Directors: Roger Graef, James Rogan. Producers: Jim Beach, Holly Gilliam, Lindsey Jex. Executive Producer: Lucy Ansbro. Directors of photography: James Rogan, Paul Shammasian. Editors: David Atkinson, Simon Barker. Sales: Andrew Winter, Eagle Rock Entertainment

© 2018 Anna Jozwiak. All rights reserved.

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