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Nashville is a snapshot of 24 characters over a 5-day long weekend in Nashville; from a white gospel singer with two deaf children (Lily Tomlin) to the silent but ubiquitous tricycle man (Jeff Goldblum) who never says a word, and the never seen Presidential hopeful, Hal Philip Walker, who doesn’t shut up with his megaphone-delivered political pitch. Although not really a story as such, Nashville does bring all the characters together at the climactic final scene, as their lives intersect in various ways. There are singers, like Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakely) and wanna be singers like Suellen Gay (Gwen Welles), political aides and husbands, a BBC reporter (Geraldine Chaplin) and a lonely, bespectacled young man with a guitar case (David Hayward).

"Even after 25 years since the film’s first release, Nashville retains all its punch, because Altman and the team managed to capture more than they set out to. This is not meant as a put-down – it often happens in an artform as collaborative as film, where various inputs, each a small detail on its own, adds cohesion and power and truth to the final result. (Casablanca, made in somewhat chaotic conditions and with script additions and changes at the last minute, is another example…) here’s a brief exchange between Altman and writer Tewkesbury (recorded for an interview with Premiere magazine marking this anniversary) to underline my point: Altman: [who had sent Tewkesbury to Nashville to research] "Go there and keep a diary, just bum around, because I want to do a multicharacter thing." Tewekesbury: "On various trips to Nashville I realised that there wasn’t one single story to drive it. There were many stories. I kept running into the same people over and over again. . .The whole thing became a transcript of overlapping lines." Well, of course this could not be more appealing to Altman, whose filmmaking style is well (if only partly) described as ‘overlapping lines’. But what came out of these ‘overlapping lines’ were characters who represented a whole spetcrum of American society – indeed, human nature. The film’s setting in the country music capital during a Presidential campaign provides a robust opportunity to examine people facing all manner of temptations and opportunities. Altman and the cast – almost unwittingly - capture all the vanity, greed, lust, power-seeking, envy and craziness that rise to the surface in such circumstances, as well as a sideways glance at failed dreams. On this weekend, at least, American dreams were not fulfilled, and the potency of indifference is revealed. Of course, it’s beautifully done, so the film is a subtle yet brutally honest satire of the society in which it was made. But, as I say, it holds true today."
Andrew L. Urban

"If it’s possible for perfection to improve upon itself, the 25 years which have elapsed since Nashville was made have done just that. This is a magnificent film any way it's approached. Seamlessly blending the stories of two dozen characters (there are 24 stars or 24 supporting actors depending on your point of view) over nearly three hours and wrapping everything up in a brilliant finale, Altman's masterpiece just gets better with age. His sly contribution to America's bicentenary was and remains a superb celebration of what's wonderful, inspiring, fascinating and flawed with the USA. Joan Tewkesbury's screenplay and the songs (many written by the actors themselves including Keith Carradine's Academy Award winner) blend beautifully in this landmark American film which is Altman's finest and one of the best films made anywhere in the 1970's. That it was shot in 45 days on a budget of $2 million (all cast members received the same pay) makes the achievement even more astounding. A must-see, no matter how many times you've seen it."
Richard Kuipers

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See Andrew L. Urban's interview with

You can HEAR Robert Altman talking to Andrew.


25th anniversary re-issue

CAST: David Arkin, Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakely, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Henry Gibson, Scott Glen, Jeff Goldblum, Barbara Harris, Michael Murphy, Lily Tomlin, Gwen Welles

DIRECTOR: Robert Altman

PRODUCER: Robert Altman

SCRIPT: Joan Tewkesbury

SPEECHWRITER (and voice of Hal Phillip Walker): Thomas Hal Phillips


EDITOR: Sidney Levin, Dennis Hill

MUSIC SUPERVISOR: Richard Baskin (and others)

RUNNING TIME: 140 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: From October 5, 2000 in Sydney; from October 27 in Melbourne; other cities to follow

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