A House DVD'd

Criterion and Rooster Teeth give you something worth wishing for

A House DVD'd

Nashville

Criterion Collection, $39.95 (Blu-ray + DVD)

So many of Robert Altman's films have the sensation of a circus: the sprawling casts, the overlapping sounds that confuse and tickle the ear, the audience's held breath at a high-wire act. (There were plummets to Earth, certainly; is there another great American director with so many zeros on his ledger?) Nashville is the big top, with two-dozen "main" characters sharing the frame – and sometimes a stage, other times a bed – for this geographically specific, micro-in-the-macro illumination of the cultural and political unrest of the times. In an interview (one of three included on Criterion's new release), Altman recalled getting a call from The Washington Post when John Lennon was shot in 1980 – five years after Nashville's climactic assassination of a celebrity singer – and being asked if he felt responsible for the bullet. Altman's retort, prickly, shrewdly turned: "I said, 'I don't think you should blame me for the assassination. I think you might blame yourself for not listening to my warning.'"

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