Friday, October 24, 2014
Preview: ROBERT ALTMAN RETROSPECTIVE AT MOMA
December 3, 2014–January 17, 2015
The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) will present a career retrospective of the important film and television director Robert Altman (American, 1925–2006) comprising 50 programs, including theatrical features, television films, cable series, and rarely seen music videos, industrial shorts, and documentary pieces.
Altman's work over four decades, beginning in the 1970s, came to help define the spirit of American independent film.
Production still from McCabe and Mrs. Miller. 1971. USA.
Directed by Robert Altman.
courtesy Warner Bros/Photofest
His essential films include:
- the groundbreaking anti-war satire MASH (1970);
- the unorthodox Western McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) which featured an especially rich, naturalistic setting;
- the disaffected portrait of Bicentennial America Nashville (1975);
- the film noir updateThe Long Goodbye (1973);
- the avant-garde picture 3 Women (1977);
- the waggish Hollywood exposé The Player (1992);
- the adaptation of stories by Raymond Carver Short Cuts (1993);
- and his final work, A Prairie Home Companion (2006), a collaboration with radio personality Garrison Keillor.
Nashville. 1975. USA.
Directed by Robert Altman.
Courtesy Paramount Pictures
- revisionist takes on romantic comedy (A Perfect Couple, 1979),
- teen films (O.C. & Stiggs, 1987),
- psychological thrillers (Images, 1972),
- and historical dramas (Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull's History Lesson, 1976).
His penchant for improvisation and innovative use of natural, overlapping dialogue became directorial signatures, most elegantly realized in his later film Gosford Park (2001), which served as a model for writer Julian Fellowes's successful ITV/PBS series Downton Abbey (2010–).
Altman's passion for theater and the craft of acting is evident in the ensemble performance style that characterizes work like:
- A Wedding(1978),
- the rarely screened HealtH (1980), and
- Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982), which he originated on stage.
- Other notable Altman films were adapted from such stage plays as David Rabe's Streamers (1983),
- Sam Shepard's Fool for Love (1985),
- Marsha Norman's The Laundromat (1985),
- Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy (1987),
- and Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter (1987).
His films provided career highlights for performers such as Cher, Robin Williams, Paul Newman, Carol Burnett, Tim Robbins, Shelley Duvall, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Keith Carradine, Lindsay Lohan, Lily Tomlin, Michael Murphy, Geraldine Chaplin, Sissy Spacek, James Caan, Susannah York, Karen Black, Robert Duvall, Glenda Jackson, René Auberjonois, Helen Mirren, and Cynthia Nixon.