Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Goodbye, Mr. Altman

יום שלישי ל' בחשון תשס''ז

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Robert Altman, the caustic and irreverent satirist behind
"M-A-S-H," "Nashville" and "The Player" who made a career out of bucking
Hollywood management and story conventions, died at a Los Angeles Hospital, his
Sandcastle 5 Productions Company said Tuesday. He was 81.

I only really learned to appreciate Altman over the last year or so . . . . At one point, I held my own retrospective, watching nearly every movie of his available on Netflix. . . And I just the other day watched his final film, Prairie Home Companion. . . . What a great way to go out. A wonderful flick and so much classically in his style. . . The constantly (but slowly and gently) moving camera. . . The overlapping dialogue. . . that can feel so amazingly natural and rich and real. . . . I especially loved the scenes with Meryl Streep, Lilly Tomlin and Lindsey Lohan playing an aging couple of singing sisters and one of their (teenage angst ridden) daughters. What beautiful women. What great actresses. Such (deceptively seeming) simple material. . . With the sounds of the radio show shifting in and out between being in the background and in the foreground -- the classic Altman technique of an “overlapping” soundtrack.

I’ll miss him. Nashville. Short Cuts. . . . I think those long flicks with the great multitude of characters and story lines were the richest. But MASH and The Player were awesome, too. . . . . Not my favorite director – Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese are probably my top ones – but a true great . . .. And an American original. . . Thanks, Mr. Altman.

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