Ron Mann’s documentary Altman traces the life and career of Robert Altman, a director who willingly accepted the risks and reaped the rewards of refusing to play by Hollywood’s rules. Working inside and outside of the studio system, Altman gained a reputation as an actor’s director with his naturalistic character studies and ensemble dramas and comedies. Ron Mann’s documentary Altman focuses on the director’s early years in TV, the critically acclaimed films he made in the 1970s, his retreat from Hollywood after 1980’s disappointing Popeye, his triumphant return to TV with the HBO miniseries Tanner ’88, and his cinematic comeback in the early 1990s with The Player and Short Cuts. Altman died in 2006, the same year he received an Academy Honorary Award and released his final film, A Prairie Home Companion. His influence can be felt today, especially in the films of Paul Thomas Anderson, who appears in the documentary along with such Altman collaborators as Keith Carradine, Elliott Gould, Lily Tomlin, Michael Murphy, Bruce Willis, and the late Robin Williams. The Austin Film Society will screen Altman at 7 p.m. Jan. 9, with Mann in attendance, followed by a screening of Altman’s 1974 drama California Split at 10 p.m. Jan. 9. Mann’s previous documentaries include Imagine the Sound, Comic Book Confidential, Grass, and Know Your Mushrooms.
Aired: Jan. 8, 2015
Web sites: http://www.sphinxproductions.com/films/altman/ and http://www.austinfilm.org/