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Monty Python Meaning of Life

It’s been four decades since the Monty Pythons first said, “Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Know what I mean?” or “My nipples explode with delight!” (Monty Python’s Flying Circus), but the five surviving lads – John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin – now all north of 70 – will turn up at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) for Q&A’s and special screenings to the delight of their legion of fans.

This week, the TFF press department announced the festival will mark the 40th Anniversary of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with a special screening of the film and the international premiere of the documentary “Monty Python: The Meaning of Live,” directed by Roger Graef and James Rogan.

Other classic Python films will also be screened, including “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.” John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin will come together for the special presentation of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” which will screen on Friday, April 24 at The Beacon Theatre. Tickets go on sale March 23 at TribecaFilm.com.

“Monty Python – The Meaning of Live” is a feature-length documentary that offers a backstage look at the preparations and staging of the Pythons’ 2014 reunion shows at The O2 in London. According to the press release, the documentary “gives a fascinating insight into the personalities, relationships, and circumstances that made the Pythons into a global phenomenon. Dive into the history of Monty Python on stage and discover the genesis of some of its most well-known pieces, as they prepare for their final live show.”

Terry Gilliam | Paula Schwartz Photo
Terry Gilliam | Paula Schwartz Photo

The documentary will premiere on Saturday, April 25; “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” will screen on April 25, and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” on April 26. Each of the screenings will be followed by a Q&A with some of the members of Monty Python.

Quotes from the Pythons, which bring back memories of a time before political correctness, offers these nuggets of insight into their filmmaking process: “It’s amazing how lack of money saved us from mediocrity. We couldn’t afford real horses,” said Terry Gilliam.

Michael Palin said, “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.”

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

From the press release:

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail, directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (UK) – Special Screening. Monty Python re-creates England of 932 A.D in their first film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. When King Arthur enlists Knights to join his Round Table, they are inspired by God to go on a quest for the Holy Grail that is constantly interrupted by all manner of challenges.

“Monty Python – The Meaning of Live,” directed by Roger Graef and James Rogan (UK) – International Premiere, documentary.  While perhaps best known for its eminently quotable films, Monty Python has performed its signature, surreal humor in live shows since the group’s earliest days.

“Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” directed by Terry Jones (UK) – Special Screening. Monty Python delivers an anarchic satire of both religion and Hollywood’s depiction of all things biblical with their second film. Brian Cohen, born in Bethlehem in the stable next door, by a series of absurd circumstances is caught up in the new religion and reluctantly mistaken for the promised messiah.

“Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life,” directed by Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam (UK) – Monty Python examines birth, life, death and fish in their third, final, and probably most tasteless yet funniest feature film that finally reveals The Meaning of Life.

When Terry Gilliam was in New York last year to promote his most recent film, he talked about the art of filmmaking and what he hoped his films achieved. The survey confirms he accomplished his goals when he told journalists, “Films are pretty extraordinary and we’re pretty lucky to be able to make them because they’re so intense when we’re doing it. At periods like this, there’s nothing before and nothing after. It’s that moment. And you have to be in the moment the full time you’re there. Then it’s over. And then hopefully, it’s like when you look back at films where you’ve done good work. You look back at it happily, proudly, and say, yeah, did all right there.”

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