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2 - 9 February 2024: Short Cuts


Short Cuts
Robert Altman, 1993, 187 min

“Prefiguring a string of turn-of-the-21st-century multi-narratives through which a large cast of characters crisscross, Short Cuts remains the most richly woven of the era – not due to a cleverly circular precision or overarching moral message, but rather because of its open, improvisational structure allowing for even more overlapping layers of connective tissue. Revising his ensemble method for a new age, Altman’s disconcerting symphony of several Raymond Carver stories and one original strand ingeniously creates links between the different tales’ disaffected, alienated denizens of Los Angeles – including a phone sex operator, a make-up artist, a news commentator, an artist, a doctor, a baker, a waitress, a chauffeur, a police officer, a pool cleaner, an alcoholic jazz singer and her suicidal daughter, a young boy, and an anonymous dead body found floating in the river. If anything, they are united by a faulty central nervous system of emotional and sexual repression expressed indirectly, inappropriately, or violently. Altman’s miraculous ability to elicit natural performances from his large cast of actors and musicians combines with his orchestral sense of life’s construction – a delicate balance of the haphazardly entropic and the uncannily synchronous.” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our Histoire(s) du cinéma series