Donigan Cumming

My Dinner with Weegee

2001 - Colour, Stereo: 36:26 min.

In My Dinner With Weegee is not about the photojournalist Weegee but about Marty, who used to socialize occasionally with him in New York in the 1950s. Now in his seventies, Marty shares with Donigan Cumming his memories of these and other encounters with artists, writers and activists. These lively stories of the past contrast sharply with Marty's desolate old age, which is dominated by bad health, alcoholism, loneliness, and money troubles. In the film Cumming pushes Marty to reveal as many facets of himself as possible, even literally exposing himself while urinating. If, in one scene, Marty's charm shines through as he sings a few bars of a song, in another we see him groping with trembling hands for a bottle of beer.

Cumming is open about his own multi-faceted rôle in the film (and in real life?) as Marty's friend, biographer, caretaker and inquisitor. He alternately helps him take his medication, nags him about his alcoholism, and shares his own memories with the older man. In one scene he swivels the camera back and forth between his face and Marty's, turning his questions about Marty's drinking into a filmic interrogation. And at several points, Cumming recites statements about his own alcoholic past, his decision to leave the USA during the Vietnam war, and his fascination with aging, decline and loss. In spite of the stilted language and stagey delivery, these remarks amount to a confession of sorts, making My Dinner With Weegee one of Cumming's most personally revealing films.

Marcy Goldberg, Visions du réel, 2002

My Dinner with Weegee Characters
Marty: Martin Corbin, a man in his seventies
Donigan: Donigan Cumming, a fifty-one-year-old man with a camcorder
Colin: Colin Kane, a man in his fifties
Pauline: Pauline Mellor, a woman in her thirties