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By Phil Hall | May 10, 2006

In the 1960s, publisher Barney Rosset commissioned original film scripts by Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Harold Pinter and Marguerite Duras. The scripts were to be made into movies for distribution by Rosset’s Grove Press. But only the Beckett script was brought to the screen: the enigmatic 1965 short “Film” starring Buster Keaton in a decidedly un-Keaton role.

Four decades later, the Ionesco script, titled “The Hard-Boiled Egg,” has been made by experimental filmmaker James Fotopoulos. The production, shot in digital video, is a slightly amusing diversion which is barely representative of Ionesco’s output.

Basically a one-joke parody of home economics instructional films, “The Hard-Boiled Egg” details how to go about buying, boiling, serving and eating an egg. Fotopoulos uses garish pop art colors to illuminate the presentation and actors who deliver their lines with intentionally exaggerated earnestness. There is satiric value at first, as the most basic of cooking procedures is broken down into excessively elementary formats. But eventually it becomes tiresome as irrelevant animation, crude repetition of imagery and the stretching of the joke to fraying point makes “The Hard-Boiled Egg” decidedly stale.

The film deserves curio attention for its pedigree, but otherwise there is little to recommend.

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