CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
When I expressed excitement over the fact that Robert Altman’s stunning “Nashville” was being released in a Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition a few months back, a colleague asked me why I loved the film and I had trouble verbalizing my feelings about Altman’s sprawling, brilliant tapestry of characters. Watching the excellent new documentary about the making-of the film on the Criterion release makes it clear that I’m not alone.
CHICAGO – One of the most remarkable things about Robert Altman was his refusal to give in to the pressures of pleasing an audience. He made films for himself. There may be no better example of this than “3 Women,” a film that defies too much examination in part because it’s purposefully vague as it was based on a dream of Mr. Altman’s. He had a dream, woke up, and turned it into a treatment, from which they shot the movie. It’s surreal, bizarre, and totally mesmerizing, and is one of the newest Criterion Blu-rays.
CHICAGO – Robert Altman made very few films that didn’t have at least a few redeeming qualities and often much more than that faint praise. Even Altman’s relative failures were often fascinating in their own way. Such a film is 1970’s “Brewster McCloud,” a work nowhere near as beloved as some of his ’70s comedies but that definitely warrants a look on its newly remastered DVD, available exclusively through the WB Shop online.