Robert Altman has died at 81, leaving behind a legacy of ambitious films. After making his mark with MASH in 1970, Altman’s career moved along in fits and starts. He would give us The Long Goodbye in 1973, Nashville in 1975, unfortunately Popeye in 1980 (and nothing else too remarkable during the 1980s), then two career-reviving films, The Player and Short Cuts, in 1992 & 1993, and Gosford Park in 2001. Despite being a five-time Academy Award nominee for best director, Altman never received an Oscar until this past year, when he received a lifetime achievement award, recognizing his distinctive film-making style. Glimpses into discrete slices of American life (Hollywood, the country music scene, the fashion world, etc.), large casts, long improvised scenes, complex mosaics of characters — these were all trademarks of Altman’s filmmaking, and what his legacy will call to mind.
Here, Altman talks about the difficulties of making MASH