It’s a pretty sad week for D+Cineasts – maverick director Robert Altman died on Monday, aged 81.
Characterised by a free-wheelin’ attitude to direction and multi-layered soundtracks (often with lotsa actors talking over each other), Altman showed the way for the likes of Marty Scorsese and Paul Thomas Anderson – just check out the sound mix for Punch Drunk Love to see what we mean.
Altman’s experimental working methods weren’t always appreciated though. Lead actor Warren Beatty came close to quitting the historical drama McCabe And Mrs Miller because of the lack of script – and when the movie was premiered, critics assumed the soundtrack was knackered.
There’s no getting away from the fact that many Altman pictures, like McCabe, are fucking hard work. But those once pilloried methods ushered in a sense of realism that was virtually absent before the 70s began, and are now taken as standard. Altman was indeed a true visionary.
Posted by Thin White Duke