Wednesday, November 22, 2006

farewell robert altman

Well the film world lost one of its masters on Monday and audiences are in mourning. Maverick director Robert Altman has died aged 81. I came to know Altman's work relatively late in life and although I've enjoyed much of his more recent films, the picture that really mesmerised me was Nashville (1975). I saw it for the first time about 5 years ago at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington. The last time I saw it was back in April when Cliff was visiting from Melbourne. We sat and watched it together on DVD and loved every minute of it. It's an inspired piece of filmmaking, which I recommend to anyone who hasn't seen it. Add it to your list now.

A year or two ago I bought The Nashville Chronicles: The Making of Robert Altman's Masterpiece by Jan Stuart, which gives a wonderful insight into Altman's work methods plus all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the cast and crew. As well as being a great read it's the ultimate companion to the film. A little while ago I was also lucky enough to find a copy of the screenplay, so if anyone wants to come over and play, there are plenty of roles to go round...

What I love about Altman's films is the combination of ensemble casts, intertwining plots and the heady journey this talented director takes me on when he puts it all together. I was so excited to go to the cinema a few weeks back to see his latest (and sadly last) offering - A Prairie Home Companion. And despite my high expectations I wasn't disappointed. There are so many other films too: MASH (which I haven't seen); Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean; Short Cuts; The Player; Gosford Park; The Long Goodbye to name just a few. Robert Altman can certainly leave this planet knowing he made an impact, a valuable contribution. What an inspiration, what a loss


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosford Park is in my top 10 films, I fucking love it. It is a damn shame people like that wont make anymore work.

November 22, 2006 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nash,
Your post is a lovely tribute to Robert Altman. One of my personal favorites is “Mash”. Mr. Altman will be missed.

November 22, 2006 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that Robert Altmans son wrote the lyrics to 'Mash' when he was thirteen years old?

November 24, 2006 7:10 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

He was certainly a remarkable artist.

I would also to the list of Altman must-sees 3 Women, which is like a forerunner to David Lynch's work, and McCabe and Mrs Miller, when Warren Beatty used to be hot.

November 24, 2006 2:10 PM  
Blogger nash said...

Hi Jay,
Hopefully Robert Altman has inspired other filmmakers to follow in his footsteps (I'm sure he has) and thankfully there's his whole body of work to watch again n again...

Hi Miss Litzi,
I must make a point of finding M*A*S*H and watching it. Apparently it was Altman's biggest success at the box-office

Hi Sheila,
Nope, I didn't know that lil piece if M*A*S*H trivia. Can't say I know the lyrics either. Care to serenade me?

Hi Sam,
I've been interested in seeing McCabe& Mrs Miller, so I WILL add it to the list. I don't know of 3 Women at all, but I'll try to find it. Thanks for the tip

Looks like I'm going to have myself a Robert Altman Festival!

November 25, 2006 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lyrics to the song 'Suicide is Painless' written by Mike Altman (make sure when your singing the lyrics you imagine the "Mash" theme in the background) -

Through early morning fog I see

visions of the things to be

the pains that are withheld for me

I realize and I can see...


that suicide is painless

It brings on many changes

and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make

all our little joys relate

without that ever-present hate

but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play

I'm gonna lose it anyway

The losing card I'll someday lay

so this is all I have to say.


The only way to win is cheat

And lay it down before I'm beat

and to another give my seat

for that's the only painless feat.


The sword of time will pierce our skins

It doesn't hurt when it begins

But as it works its way on in

The pain grows it grin, but...


A brave man once requested me

to answer questions that are key

is it to be or not to be

and I replied 'oh why ask me?'


'Cause suicide is painless

it brings on many changes

and I can take or leave it if I please.

...and you can do the same thing if you please.

November 25, 2006 10:22 AM  
Blogger nash said...

God Sheila,
Pretty profound lyrics coming from a 13 year old. I knew the M*A*S*H TV theme was called 'Suicide is Painless', but I had no idea these were the words. Was the song used in the film and the TV series?

November 25, 2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was only used for the film.

November 27, 2006 7:59 AM  

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