‘Not I’ by Samuel Beckett | Beckett on Film | 2001

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Not I, written in English in 1972, features an actress seated on stage with just her mouth spot-lit. The mouth then delivers a long stream of consciousness. Evasion is the principle theme, as is highlighted by Beckett’s note to the text in which the mouth’s chief endeavour throughout the play is a ‘vehement refusal to relinquish the third person’. The mouth undergoes a desperate struggle to avoid saying ‘I’, marked by four moments of crisis in which her monologue becomes a question and answer with an inner voice not heard by the audience.

‘… out … into this world … this world … tiny little thing … before its time …’
– Not I

Running time: 14 minutes


The Beckett on Film project includes all 19 plays of Samuel Beckett, considered the most significant Irish playwright of the 20th century. Many of these outstanding filmed productions have received critical acclaim at prestigious international film festivals around the world including New York, Toronto and Venice.


Director

Neil Jordan‘s film career began with the role of creative consultant on John Boorman’s Excalibur in 1981, about which he made a documentary entitled The Making of Excalibur – Myth into MovieSince then he has made twelve films:Angel (1982); Company of Wolves (1984); Mona Lisa (1986); The Crying Game(1992), for which he won an Oscar for best screenplay; Interview with the Vampire (1994); Michael Collins (1995), which was awarded a Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival; The Butcher Boy (1996), for which he won a Silver Bear for Direction at the Berlin Film Festival; In Dreams (1999); and The End of the Affair (1999) for which he won the BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

‘Despite the theatrical nature of the piece, the startling image at the heart of it – an isolated mouth – could perhaps be better realised in the cinema. Also, working within the limits of Samuel Beckett’s stage instructions becomes oddly liberating, like etching a map of the world on a postage stamp.’

–Neil Jordan

Cast

Julianne Moore‘s film credits include: Short Cuts and Cookie’s Fortune, both directed by Robert Altman; The Hand that Rocks the CradleLost WorldJurassic ParkBoogie NightsThe Big LebowskiThe End of The AffairMagnoliaSafe and An Ideal Husband, among many others.


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