...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

August 24, 2006

Nashville - 6

An early Robert Altman film (1975), it got referenced a lot at this years Oscars because of its great commentary on American culture, especially the relationship of the music and film industry to politics. There is a great line in this film about how Hollywood is too eccentric to be able to get voter behind a candidate, but the presidents we have had have always won the country music crowd, that's still true (that is also why the Dixie Chicks are now outcasts). This film has almost no plot. In typical Altman fashion he has a huge cast and shows the everyday life of those that live and visit Nashville- the home of country music. The film takes place of a couple of days before the presidential hopeful arrives for a visit. The film ends before he arrives and all you know about him is from a van that drives around with a loud speaker announcing his platform. This works as sort of the anchor that holds the story together. The main players are the established country stars and the newbies who are trying to make it in the music business (this same sort of divide comes up again in Gosford Park). The expression on people’s faces says more than the dialogue. This film is the epitome of showing rather than telling you the story. It allows the viewer to see our celebrity culture from outside of it, and to find a new approach for thinking about how to be in it today. The age of this film allows it to be viewed now as a film about politic rather than be political (unlike last year's Good Night, and Good Luck). I wonder how it was received when it came out.

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