Friday, April 17, 2009

Nashville @ the Charles Theatre this week

Don't forget that the Saturday screening starts early.

Saturday, April 18 at 11 AM
Monday, April 20 at 7 PM
Thursday, April 23 at 9 PM

1975 Robert Altman. Ned Beatty, Karen Black, David Arkin, Barbara Baxley, Ronee Blakley, Timothy Brown, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Murphy, Lily Tomlin, Keenan Wynn, Vassar Clements, Elliott Gould, Julie Christie. 159m.

In 1975, legendary film critic Pauline Kael dubbed Nashville “an orgy for movie-lovers” in a worshipful review that seemed more than a little over the top at the time, especially when the film flopped at the box office. Audiences, used to predictable generic conventions (was it a musical, a political satire, a docudrama?) didn't get Altman's sprawling, multi-layered bicentennial epic and stayed away in droves. When the director was asked why it failed, he wryly replied, “Because we didn't have King Kong or a shark.” More than three decades later, it's clear that Kael's judgment has triumphed over the taste of the times. Today Nashville is acknowledged as everything Altman's outsized vision demanded: it's a seminal film and a great one, and it changed the definition of what movies could be. Challenging, to be sure. Seamlessly juggling the stories of more than two dozen characters over five days in Music City, USA, Nashville refuses to tell us where to look or how to respond. But give yourself over to the spectacle and you can't help but be moved by the miracle of it, by the sheer audacity of its scope and depth. If any film ever demanded to be seen more than once, this is it-maybe 24 times would be apt, once for each character. It's guaranteed that each viewing will yield up a multitude of new pleasures and insights. Enjoy the orgy. (Linda DeLibero)