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Friday, September 23, 2005

Robert Altman Chooses P.T. Anderson as Next Robert Altman
Premiere Magazine recently reported that 80 year-old Robert Altman, before beginning his latest film A Prairie Home Companion, was required to select a replacement director for insurance purposes, just in case anything happened to him. Not surprisingly, Altman chose Paul Thomas Anderson, who has been compared to Altman again and again for his Nashville-like epics Boogie Nights and Magnolia, not to mention his clever use of Shelley Duvall singing "He Needs Me" (from Popeye) in Punch-Drunk Love. Though the whole thing is a bit gruesome, it's also comforting to know that -- God forbid -- when Altman passes on, his legacy will continue in a weird way.

But it makes you wonder: who will replace some of the other aging masters? Ingmar Bergman released an extraordinary new film this year, Saraband, that barely anyone bothered to see. Will anyone care when he passes on? Who else can do icy angst like he can? (Woody Allen has attempted it, but that's another story...) Who will be the next Martin Scorsese? Jean-Luc Godard? Clint Eastwood? Hayao Miyazaki?

Ultimately, I guess, replacing the masters isn't really the point. That's why they're masters in the first place -- because there's no one else quite like them. Sitting through Allen's Interiors instead of one of Bergman's classics is example enough. Anderson may have channelled Altman for his first few films, but it was just long enough to get his footing. Punch-Drunk Love revealed a whole new side to him, and I suspect that, Altman-esque or not, Anderson may have quite a bit of his own mastery to offer.

By the way, I always have to add the disclaimer that I am not related to Paul, nor am I related to Wes, Pamela, Anthony, Gillian or Brad. (Nor am I that guy who was in Clerks.)
:: posted by Jeffrey M. Anderson, 9/23/2005 Comments (3)
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