Sydney Film Festival 2014 - Nashville

The Robert Altman retrospective at the Sydney Film Festival this weekend. The original 35mm prints of eight of Altman's 37 odd movies are being shown in the next few days. The movies are a combination of well known classics and his early less seen films. Introduced by his son, Michael, the retrospective started with four short personal films from Altman that are part of the UCLA Film & TV archive. They were an eclectic mix of story telling and subject matter  that were made for pleasure and personal viewing, not public distribution.

Michael Altman introduced each short and talked a bit about his experience working with his father. The night finished off with a viewing of Nashville. Released in 1975 just after the Watergate scandal in the USA, Altman uses the most American of music, country and western music to comment on the loss of hope in the American society at the time. It is a wonderful movie that sig sags you from laughing at a character to sympathy and sorrow for the circumstances they have chosen or find themselves in. With 24 characters, this is a very typical Altman film that follows multiple story strands that flow into one a coherent plot. One of the most interesting elements of the film is the role of women in the music industry and society as a whole. The deliberate male gaze and relationship between the power held by men and the performances that are controlled and constructed by men that are executed by women. Not all characters are in this situation, however there is enough compare and contrast for the point to be made.

If you can see this movie on the big screen, I highly recommend it.