A legend is gone

Robert Altman passed away at the age of 81. I had no idea he was that old… of course, I had never checked his filmography as a whole. It goes on almost forever on imdb, and out of the endless number of movies he’d directed, I have only seen a few. Short cuts, Gosford Park, 3 women, Cookie’s fortune, Nashville, The company… Wonderful, wonderful movies. I am really not an expert, but I know what I like, and what touches me, and Nashville was a wonderful experience. Politics and country music intertwined, the rotten and the innocent side of America. Oh, he was probably the only director who was able to chide his mother country while praising and loving it at the same time. All those bitter-sweet country songs… The ending of the movie just left me breathless. Nothing overly dramatic, but one is inevitably drawn into something larger than that moment. It is so triumphant in its modest way that it made my eyes water.
Short cuts, which I have seen several times, had always made me feel depressed and exhilarated simultaneously; all those petty human existences, shown under the microscope with such care, turned into despicable and pitiful micro-universes, all collapsing into life. Crash, a movie made I think last year, owes its success mainly to its structure, which is, let’s face it, simply taken from Altman. The drama just adds to it. Robert Altman had the structure and never went over the top, never turned sentimental. It was all there, hitting you in the face, showing something you could easily be part of.
Oh, those dance sequences in The company… Out of all the dance movies I have ever seen (many, I can tell you) this was something very special, something that showed dancing as the end result, while taking us backstage, shoving reality into our faces. All the struggle, and the minute details of a dancer, but mercifully lacking the cheesy scenes all the usual dance movies fall back on. Of course, this one is about ballet, not hip-hop or salsa. A very intelligent, beautifully shot movie it is.
I regret not having seen more of this great director’s work, but I am sure that time will bring him closer to me.
At the moment, www.robertaltman.com is down… for understandable reasons. I am sure it will soon be available; in the meantime, check imdb or en.wikipedia.org for biography and his movies.

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