One more well made film historical biography, this time on Robert Altman (1925-2006), interestingly made and enjoyable to watch. The director, Canadian Ron Mann, got the great idea to chapter the film by asking people who have worked with Altman to state shortly what ”Altmanesque” is for them. Robin Williams (who played in the director’s ”Popeye”) says ”Expecting the Unexpected”, Bruce Willis says ”Kicking Hollywood’s Ass”, Julianne Moore says ”he shows how vulnerable we are”. Many others take part in this clever game of characterisation of the director, who gave us ”Nashville”, ”M.A.S.H”, ”Gosford Park”, ”McCabe and Mrs. Miller” and ”Short Cuts”, to mention a few classics from the enormous filmography.
His widow Kathryn – they met in each other in 1959 – tells the story about her husband as do his children, very often they were part of the film crews, and does he himself through interviews made for other purposes. We get the whole career, how he got into filmmaking through industrial films, how he became, as he says himself, ”one of the top tv directors”, his constant fight with the Hollywood companies (so clearly depicted in ”The Player”), his admiration for the actors, his way of working with the crew that was invited to watch the dailies together with him, his period as a theatre director, his fame in Europe – he lived in Paris for years – and awards in Cannes, his drinking too much, when he stopped he said to his wife ”what I miss by no drinking, is the alcohol”, his new heart… the film is full of fine home movie material, clips from the films, and yes you want to watch them again.
To be found on itunes and dvd etc. Photo from 1983.
USA, 2014, 95 mins.