Robert Altman; the making of Short Cuts

I have been thinking about aesthetics of writing and also narrative within art in the last few weeks. Storytelling has never been something that I aim for in my artworks, but I am starting to recognise that my perception of storytelling is way to narrow and naive.

In 1994 I was blown away by the film Short Cuts by Robert Altman. It made such an impression that I haven’t needed or wanted to see it again; untill now.

Short Cuts is loosely build over nine of Raymond Carver’s short stories where Robert Altman has chosen to interweave the characters from the different short stories. Listening to Altman talk about the film in the documentary Luck, Trust and Ketchup made me sit up and take note.

The film is structured so, when it swaps between the different stories, the viewer is missing out on the other stories not shown. The viewer therefore has to make up what has happened to the characters in the mean time. Altman states; what isn’t filmed is more important than what is, so that millions of viewers will be creating each their stories (explanations).

This form for narrative or storytelling I can relate to. It is not descriptive or illustrative, but rather rely on each indiviuals imagination. It is narrative as a facilitator for inventing new thoughts to be screened in each our own minds.

I am going to be brave and watch Short Cuts again… wonder if I will have to revise my love for it!

About Andrea Jespersen

I am a visual artist with a practice that explores how conceptual deliberations and the hand made can co-exist. Check my website for documentation of artworks.

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