Close Up

21 - 26 January 2017: Nashville



Robert Altman
1975 | 157 min | Colour | DCP

"Following dozens of characters around the title city in the days before a political rally featuring country music performers, Nashville brought its already-celebrated director to the pinnacle of acclaim. It is quintessential Altman in its loose narrative structure and large ensemble cast – Altman is said to have ordered screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury to up the number of characters in her script from sixteen to twenty-four. At the same time, it finds this most idiosyncratic of filmmakers engaged with the national mood to an unusual extent. Made in the final days of the Nixon presidency and just ahead of the celebration of the nation’s Bicentennial, Nashville operates on three layers: beyond the loving satire of country music – often misinterpreted as snobbish condescension – lies a prescient cautionary tale about the intertwining of politics and show business, as well as an allegory about Hollywood struggling to respond to a changing nation. The large cast of characters allows the film to move from one register to another as it orchestrates its ideas about politics, big business, entertainment, and a society undergoing rapid change." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our Robert Altman season