In Nashville, Robert Altman concocted a narrative with 24 characters. On something like a dare, he doubled that in A Wedding, which has 48. Lauren Hutton’s memorable Florence Farmer is among actors including Carol Burnett (nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance here), Lillian Gish, Mia Farrow, Viveca Lindfors, Geraldine Chaplin, John Cromwell, Vittorio Gassman…well, we have to stop somewhere. “The two families in Robert Altman’s A Wedding live right there in the closets with their skeletons. They present a cheerful facade to the outer world, of old Lake Forest money on the one hand and new Southern money on the other. But just beneath the surface there are jealousies and greeds and hates, and the random dirty tricks of fate. Altman plunges gleefully into this wealth of material; there are forty-eight characters in his movie, give or take a few, and by the film’s end we know them all. And some of them are drawn as well as Altman has drawn anyone. That’s because A Wedding is a lot deeper and more ambitious than we might at first expect. It begins in comedy, it moves into realms of social observation, it descends into personal revelations that are sometimes tragic, sometimes comic, and then it ends in a way that turns everything back upon itself. The more you think about what Altman’s done, the more impressive his accomplishment becomes. A Wedding aims to upset our expectations. It takes our society’s most fertile source of cliches and stereotypes—a society wedding—and then chisels away at it with maniacal and sometimes savage satire.”— Roger Ebert
Shown with “The Altman Apartment“
Michael Murphy narrates a tour of the one-of-a-kind Manhattan apartment of long-time director Robert Altman and his wife and frequent MIFF guest Kathryn Altman.