The Reeler

FILM ON THE WEB

A Girl and a Gun
A_Film_By
Ain't It Cool News
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Anne Thompson
Art Fag City
ArtFlickChick
Better Than Fudge
Big Picture Big Sound
Bitter Cinema
Blank Screen
Blogumentary
Brian Flemming
Bright Lights
Celluloid Eyes
CHUD
Chutry Experiment, The
Cinecultist
Cinema Confidential
Cinema Eye
Cinema-Scope
Cinemarati
Cinematical
CineMe
Coming Soon
Cool Cinema Trash
Cyndi Greening
Dark Horizons
Defamer
Drew's Blog-O-Rama
Errata
Esoteric Rabbit
Film Detail
Film Experience, The
Film Journal, The
Film Journey
Film Stew
Film Rotation
Flickhead
GreenCine Daily
Greg.org
Hacking Netflix
Hammer to Nail
High Sign, The
Hollywood Elsewhere
House Next Door, The
IFC Blog, The
In the Company of Glenn
IndieScene Movie Marketing Blog
indieWIRE.com
indieWIRE Blogs
Jay's Movie Blog
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Kaiju Shakedown
Kamera
Kinoeye
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Last Night with Riviera
Light Sleeper
Long Pauses
Looker
Masters of Cinema
Matt Zoller Seitz
Midnight Eye
Milk Plus
Mind Jack
Metaphilm
Movie Blog, The
Movie City Indie
Movie Hole, The
Movie Poop Shoot
New York Cool
NY Post Movie Blog
News of the Dead
No More Marriages!
Notes From Underdog
Out of Focus
Persistence of Vision
Pullquote
Queer Film Review
Reel Roundtable
ScreenGrab
Screen Rush
Screener (Film Journal Int.)
Screening the Past
Self-Styled Siren
Short Sheet, The
Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine Blog
Still in Motion
Stranger Song, The
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
Tisch Film Review
Twitch
Vince Keenan
World Film (at About.com)
You Know, For Film
Zoom-In
Premieres & Events

Altman's Last Hurrah Hits Lincoln Center

"The death of an old man is not a tragedy."

That is a line from Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion, the director's most recent -- and final -- film. Spoken by the character "Dangerous Woman" (an angel of death played by Virginia Madsen), it can now, in retrospect, be referring to Altman himself one week after we lost the legendary 81-year-old filmmaker to complications from cancer.

Nevertheless, for the Film Society of Lincoln Center to choose Companion for an Altman tribute screening Monday night seemed like a choice of convenience. Maybe there were no other prints available, and this latest release was readily on hand somewhere in the city; after all, this wasn't exactly one of his better-received works. Then again, how could the organization just pick one of his best? In his introduction to the film, FSLC associate programmer Kent Jones explained its appropriateness.

"Very often when someone makes a film that turns out to be their last," he said to the audience at the Walter Reade Theater, "it's read as a testament -- sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. In the case of this movie, which deals so much with mortality and with endings and with loss, but in such a beautifully light-hearted way, it makes perfect sense."

It really does. Companion is about the ending of a long-running radio variety show, and the film is packed with philosophical dialogue -- some morbid, some comic -- about life and death. One character dies immediately following a performance. Much of the film seems almost intentionally about Altman's own passing, including Madsen's haunting presence and co-writer and star Garrison Keillor's lines, "Every show is your last show," and, "I don't want them to be told to remember me."

And as such, it is difficult to watch A Prairie Home Companion today without seeing obvious parallels to Altman's life, career, death and legacy. "This is one of those losses in the film world that feels like the shifting of a tectonic plate," Jones said. "It's hard to imagine that there won't be anymore Robert Altman films. I'm very happy that we have the ones that he made. They really changed the way that a lot of us looked at movies. And they changed how we experience them, and what we expect from them." -- Christopher Campbell

Posted at November 28, 2006 7:31 AM

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.thereeler.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb-AjOOtIAl.cgi/221

Search The Reeler
Join the Mailing List

RSS Feed

Archives

Send a Tip