Irish Film Institute -ELAINE MAY: A NEW LEAF


Director: Elaine May

102 mins, USA, 1971, Blu-Ray

This film screened 20th August 2016.

The screening will be introduced by writer, actor and comedian Moira Brady Averill.

May worked as a comedian, playwright and actress before embarking on A New Leaf, her directorial debut which she wrote and starred in alongside an uproarious Walter Matthau. A bankrupt dilettante desperate to maintain his opulent lifestyle after he has squandered his fortune, long-standing bachelor Henry (Matthau) devises a plan to marry an affluent, unsuspecting partner who he then intends to kill off.

After a string of doomed encounters, Henry meets millionaire botanist Henrietta (May), whose social awkwardness and unparalleled clumsiness make her, he believes, his perfect candidate. Reduced by Paramount from 180 minutes to its current length without May’s approval, thereby extracting a disquieting subplot, the existing incarnation of A New Leaf
 is nevertheless an underseen comic masterpiece, described by Roger Ebert as hilarious and “one of the funniest movies of our unfunny age”.

This screening is part of the Elaine May Retrospective running from August 20th-28th 2016.

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