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Mikey and Nicky

Screening on Film
Directed by Elaine May.
With John Cassavetes, Peter Falk, Carol Grace.
US, 1976, 35mm, color, 119 min.
Print source: HFA

“What way am I going to see you, I haven’t seen you before? Open the door!”

Already known as a brilliant comedian for her improvisational sketch comedy with longtime partner Mike Nichols, Elaine May in the 1970s proved she was also a gifted filmmaker. After the farcical A New Leaf and the bittersweet The Heartbreak Kid, she explored new territory in this, her third and bravest film; sadly her fourth was the unfairly infamous Ishtar, and she never directed another one.

Here she looks at male friendship in an intense and touching story about a small-time crook who learns a local mobster has put a price on his head. Hiding out in a crummy hotel room, desperate, he telephones his best friend. What follows is one very long night for the two men, that takes them to every corner of their difficult relationship. And May not only plays with a John Cassavetes-like style, she uses the man himself—and his real-life friend Peter Falk—as her protagonists, adding another layer of intimacy.

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Furious Cinema '70-'77

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The Comic Vision of Elaine May

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