Robert Altman's brilliant, sprawling masterpiece paints a detailed portrait of the people and music industry of Nashville, Tennessee. Made in 1975, one year before the celebration of the American Bicentennial, the film can also be viewed as a metaphor for the state of American politics and culture of the time. Altman's roaming camera follows a group of disparate individuals as the city prepares for an upcoming political rally for "Replacement" party candidate Hal Philip Walker. They include a ditzy Californian who's visiting her dying aunt and downtrodden uncle, a philandering rock star and his bandmates, a country singer on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a tone-deaf waitress with dreams of superstardom, a mother with two deaf children, and a British journalist who is out to capture the "true" Nashville. The characters intersect at the beginning of the film after a highway accident, and again at the end when an act of violence tarnishes the political rally. Altman's improvisational approach lends itself perfectly to the film's subject matter, which allows the actors to freely develop their personas. Another bold decision was to incorporate songs written by the actors themselves (Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy" won an Oscar for Best Song). This unorthodox style adds a satirical humor and brave honesty to NASHVILLE, making it one of American cinema's crowning achievements.
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