Hare (THE BLUE ROOM) directed this film adaptation of Wallace Shawn's play while it was being performed on the London stage with the same cast. A divorced couple (Nichols and Richardson) sit at a table with her father (De Keyser) and lament the death of culture in their unnamed, totalitarian country in the distant future- a country where intelligent thinkers are thought to be dangerous. A play not at all dependent on visuals, the film is notable mostly for its rare performance from director Nichols.
Description by Image Entertainment:
A unique and disturbing work, "The Designated Mourner" is the feature film version of Wallace Shawn's hugely successful play, which was first staged by David Hare at London's Royal National Theatre with Mike Nichols (whose brilliant performance was the talk of the town) in the leading role of "Jack." The play has now been created anew for the screen by the same cast, writer, director and designer. Told almost entirely in direct address, the screenplay by Wallace Shawn is an astonishing tour-de-force, as enthralling as his earlier cult classic, "My Dinner with Andre" (written and performed with Andre Gregory). Directed by playwright/filmmaker David Hare, starring Miranda Richardson, David de Keyser and one of America's most famous film directors, Mike Nichols, in his feature film acting debut, "The Designated Mourner" is a genuinely original, intimate, and compelling experience.