Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Robert Altman, 1925-2006.

Robert Altman died two days ago. I feel it's worth pausing to remember all the wonderful films he made, and more, what a great embodiment of the working artist. I don't know how many people saw some of his odder films--Quintet, anyone? or A Wedding?--but the reality was, he made movies. A lot of really great ones, and almost all of them idiosyncratic and interesting and worth your time.

Here's a list of my personal favorites:

1. McCabe and Mrs. Miller. To my mind, one of the loveliest films ever made.
2. Nashville, of course, and also M*A*S*H.
3. Three Women.
Very weird and completely unforgettable.
4. Cookie's Fortune.
5. Gosford Park.
To my mind, one of the finest films of the last 10 years. Endlessly rewatchable.
6. The Player.
7. Popeye.
Also very weird, but like nothing else you've ever seen.

What a great thing, to have made so many great films, and to have made some of the greatest at the very end of things. Today, all art aspires to the condition of Robert Altman, making great artifacts to the very end, but more importantly, just making.

3 comments:

Dr. Write said...

I know! So sad. I think Gosford is one of his best movies, though I certainly haven't seen them all. I just love the cross talk, and, oh everything! Everything! He will be missed.
Fresh Air played an interview from '99, which was great. He had a lot of smart things to say, including that movies have ceased (for the most part) to be art and are now products. But that he just needs to find a small group, a "cult" he called them, which he explained was smaller than a minority.
But we're here. And now, I guess, we'll have to look to his heirs.

Counterintuitive said...

I also heard the interview. I was impressed by his response to Terry Gross's inquiry if he regretted making any of his films: None. Every film became what I had envisioned.

One thing I've realized is I haven't actually seen many of his films: MASH and Gosford Park.

theorris said...

Three Women sticks with me better than all of his, I think--well save Nashville.

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