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If… (1968) Directed by Lindsay Anderson "Non-realism in style is not—must not be—synonymous with unreality. These worlds are unreal." Anderson wrote those words about a trio of John Ford films he felt went in for too-easy symbolism, too deliberate a break from the emotional truth Ford was capable of. Anderson, whom Stanley Kauffmann called the “best directing talent” England ever produced, found the perfect medium for the real and the unreal in his sophomore feature. If…...
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) Directed by Robert Altman McCabe & Mrs. Miller, like so many Westerns, begins with a stranger riding into town under an opening-credits ballad: Leonard Cohen sings “The Stranger,” his light and unconsoling voice floating above spare guitar figures like someone looking for a place to be warm and not expecting to find it, as Warren Beatty, in a bearskin coat as wide as a doorway, approaches Presbyterian Church, a mountain-west...
The film director Robert Altman thrived on chaos. In an interview not long after his death, in 2006, Elliot Gould recalled something the director had told him once: He "learned how to put it together in chaos and therefore created chaos in which to put it together." Altman might have imagined his role as a film director to be somewhat akin to an expressive painter, only the canvas wasn't fixed, and the colors were...

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