I still have little idea what my favourite Altman film is or will be, but the one I had to watch last night was Nashville. I was sort of shocked at how definitive that urge was.
This is certainly a contender for The Great American Movie, and it's a perfect demonstration of how innovative, precise and accomplished Altman could be, despite the carefully contrived illusion of chaos.
I often find myself saying that 3 Women
is my favorite Altman film simply because I'm a sucker for films depicting dreamy, hallugenic landscapes (no wonder why Satantango
leaves me crippled for days, now weeks) and films starring Shelley Duvall. 3 Women
contains both! Quite a feast for me. I have to thank Altman for discovering Duvall in Texas because there is NO ONE like her in the world of cinema...and the world. [/quote]
Actually, if asked a week ago, I probably would have picked Three Women
as my favourite Altman, and maybe it still is - we're a sucker for the same things. I think it was also probably my first Altman, though when I taped it off late night TV the tape ran out before the third act (so when I later read synopses of what 'happened' at the end I really cursed the technology).
But when he'd gone, Three Women
just didn't seem up to the task of summing up everything he was about. Nashville
seemed at the time like the great 'summing up' film, even over a personal favourite like A Wedding
(the first Altman film I saw all the way through!). Actually, that would have been an appropriate choice too, with it's extremely pungent "life going on in the face of death" theme.
zedz, I find it interesting that you consider Nashville the contender for the Great American Film. What do you think of Short Cuts? That film gets to me every now and then. Some folks I know despite this film and I suspect it's because it reminds them of the painful cynicism of the world we're living in today. And how disconnected we can be with our loved ones without really seeing or being able to recognize it.
I find it impressive, but some way below his earlier triumphs in the same mode (specifically Nashville
and A Wedding
). It seems to me heavier, both in terms of its structure (having to fit in all of those actual stories, rather than just character arcs and situations) and in its striving for significance. Those earlier ones are so freewheeling and organic. Still, I haven't seen it since it came out, so it's well overdue a revisit.