683 Nashville

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criterion10
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 pm

Re: 683 Nashville

#101 Post by criterion10 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:50 pm

I haven't seen Short Cuts yet, though that's definitely one I've been meaning to catch for a while now. It will probably be my next Altman.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: 683 Nashville

#102 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:42 pm

Your specific complaints about Nashville seem to me more like a simple description of one of Altman's (most distinctively Altmanesque) modes of filmmaking - the wide-ranging fresco approach best illustrated by this film and A Wedding. It might just be that this mode of filmmaking isn't for you, because most of the problems you identify are what I'd consider strengths of this approach (e.g. the absence of schematic equalization of character 'importance'; the discursions into the texture of the world - here, the music; the diminishment of plot in the extremely narrow Hollywood sense).

I don't know that it's quite accurate to describe this approach as favouring character over plot, because, as you noted, even character doesn't function in the same way it does in a conventional Hollywood narrative (and a lot of Hollywood 'characterization' is really just plotting in disguise: all those tiresome and predictable 'arcs'). For me, these kinds of films are more about world-building, with character and plot as the improvised riffs that populate those worlds.

criterion10
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:19 pm

Re: 683 Nashville

#103 Post by criterion10 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:53 pm

zedz wrote:Your specific complaints about Nashville seem to me more like a simple description of one of Altman's (most distinctively Altmanesque) modes of filmmaking - the wide-ranging fresco approach best illustrated by this film and A Wedding. It might just be that this mode of filmmaking isn't for you, because most of the problems you identify are what I'd consider strengths of this approach (e.g. the absence of schematic equalization of character 'importance'; the discursions into the texture of the world - here, the music; the diminishment of plot in the extremely narrow Hollywood sense).
Altman's approach is certainly unique, though as you claimed too, it just did not work for me in this case, and I have no problem admitting that. I have not seen A Wedding yet, so I cannot comment on that film, but as I said in my post before, I just did not really find any of the characters or the environment in Nashville particularly interesting. Maybe I would have preferred a more cinematic approach, but then again, this would probably take away from what Altman was trying to accomplish here.

It will be interesting to see whether or not Altman's approach works for me in similar films, like A Wedding or Short Cuts.

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domino harvey
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Re: 683 Nashville

#104 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:07 pm

criterion10 wrote: Maybe I would have preferred a more cinematic approach, but then again, this would probably take away from what Altman was trying to accomplish here..
What would be a more "cinematic" approach? Altman uses visual cues, sound, actors, script, etc to form a fascinating whole. You didn't find it fascinating, okay, fair enough, but that doesn't make the film less cinematic just because its structure doesn't conform to the conventional narrative you seem to prefer

criterion10
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Re: 683 Nashville

#105 Post by criterion10 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:26 pm

domino harvey wrote:but that doesn't make the film less cinematic just because its structure doesn't conform to the conventional narrative you seem to prefer
That's all I meant when I said "cinematic," just a more conventional way of telling the stories of these different characters. I found Altman's method interesting and unique, but it personally didn't work for me.

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zedz
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Re: 683 Nashville

#106 Post by zedz » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:34 pm

You may get more out of Short Cuts, which I personally feel is a very different kettle of fish, since it really is a whole lot of intercut stories rather than the more radical freeform approach of Nashville. As such, I'm afraid I find Short Cuts, for all its strengths, somewhat antiseptic compared to the messy sprawl of Nashville and A Wedding.

Numero Trois
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Re: 683 Nashville

#107 Post by Numero Trois » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:26 am

zedz wrote:As such, I'm afraid I find Short Cuts, for all its strengths, somewhat antiseptic compared to the messy sprawl of Nashville and A Wedding.
Its definetly more controlled than those 70s examples. But its also the case that he probably didn't have much new to say with that sprawling interlocking type of narrative. Unfortunately one could say the same for The Player as well.

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 683 Nashville

#108 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:06 pm

I do agree with zedz that Short Cuts, despite certainly thematic similarities with Nashville and likely because of the Raymond Caver material to draw from, is occupying the much more structured extreme of the spectrum, where almost all the characters gets arcs and resolutions to their stories (or we get to see the resolutions that they miss)

I haven't fully thought this through (no change there!) but A Wedding is my favourite of those films, though I kind of think the slightly more problematic Dr T & The Women was getting closer to a 'freeform community portrait' similar to Nashville, without even the songs to link the action (with the main linkage of the characters being the unshowable gynaecological examinations!)

This is an interesting debate though. I like all the 'Altman ensemble' films and this is just a way of ranking favourites but I personally think I respond better to the idea of a general organising principle and actual thought through climax moments for specific storylines, moments that may not actually be the climax of the entire film, just one particular storyline that somehow makes the entire experience surrounding it worthwhile and involve not just the central figures in that story but many of the other minor characters too, who might be responding to the action or just looking on (I'm thinking of the death of Keenan Wynn's wife, or the terrible singer-turned-stripper sequence in Nashville, or the Helen Mirren revelation in Gosford Park for example).

Yet sometimes the more 'schematic' moments that are trying to force closure more generally often ring hollow to me, and I sometimes get the impression that they do to Altman too - the deaths, the murders, the hurricanes, the assassinations, the arguments, the accidents, the earthquakes, the dog crap slippages, etc - they tie everyone together in response to a particular event but don't really affect any of the ongoing dramas in the most satisfying ways. They're just the skeletal structure on which to drape character moments upon. I know I often moan about the totally pointless scenes involving Stephen Fry's police inspector in Gosford Park that structure the second half of the film and give an excuse to interact with the rest of the cast (the equivalent of the BBC reporter here in Nashville) for instance, but that is perhaps an exception of the schematic moment of the murder investigation turning out to be totally irrelevant to the rest of the film and most blatantly acknowledged as such (unlike the 'emperor has no clothes' ending of Pret-a-Porter, or climax of Nashville, the murder investigation is allowed to just peter out rather than devastate with irony or cynicism) therefore more easily ignorable than such moments are in other films!

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zedz
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Re: 683 Nashville

#109 Post by zedz » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:54 pm

I'm catching up on Criterion releases too late to have participated in our awards, but if I were, the Making Of on this would get my vote for extra of the year. So many great interviews with excellent insights, organized with zing and coherence. Joan Tewkesbury has to be the most valuable player, but there was no dead weight on board. And Lily Tomlin either has the best plastic surgeon in Hollywood or bathes in the blood of virgins.

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Magic Hate Ball
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:15 pm
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Re: 683 Nashville

#110 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:27 pm

Got to see this on the big screen, which was really fun and I would actively encourage it. The opening ad sequence was almost overwhelming, and the large-scale picture format really, really helped sell the Altman style, because suddenly I was picking up on things I'd never noticed watching it on my television, such as how everyone looks at the tricycle-biker as if he were an alien (not to mention actually being able to see Goldblum's expressions), or Geraldine Chapman in the background of one of the Opry songs fighting with a security guard. The audience wasn't huge but it was big enough to have group reactions, so all the funny parts were a lot funnier and there were some quiet, soulful silences (particularly during "I'm Easy", which really knocked me down).

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: 683 Nashville

#111 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:46 pm

I had a similar experience when I went to see a new print of M*A*S*H some years ago. Afterwards, a friend told me that he was able to catch a lot of jokes he hadn't noticed before simply from the audience reaction.

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: 683 Nashville

#112 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:57 pm

A new 4K restoration of Nashville will have a one-week run at Film Forum, September 20-26, but Lily Tomlin will also be presenting it at Lincoln Center on Saturday, Sep. 14.

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