Director: Robert Altman

(U.S.A.| 1975. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby stereo. 161 min.) New 35mm print.

One of the great masterpieces of the American cinema, Robert Altman’s ambitious, audacious and absolutely compelling movie set in and around a country music festival gets better with each viewing and looks even more impressive as time goes by.
There’s no ‘plot’ as such, as it simply follows the fortunes of around two dozen characters who either live and work in Nashville or who are there for the weekend-long celebration of music, showbiz and the American way. Needless to say, many of Altman’s beautiful losers hope to find fame and fortune; some are struggling to hang on to their careers, loved ones or sanity; others are just trying to have fun, do a job or do the right thing; and then there are the politicians, hoping audiences will follow any star who lends support to their cause. It’s a superbly vivid tapestry of American society, so adept at conveying an almost documentary sense of reality that the subtle complexities of the seemingly free-wheeling narrative often go unnoticed. But no one, surely, could fail to appreciate the magnificent performances, the beguiling blend of wry humour and heartfelt emotion, the authenticity and diversity of the music, and the consistently imaginative, mercurial brilliance of the direction.

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