Friday, July 07, 2006

A Prairie Home Companion (2006)

Dir: Robert Altman
In Theatres Now

After over thirty years on the air, the Midwestern radio program “A Prairie Home Companion” is being taken off the air by a larger corporation that no longer sees the need for a program of its old values.

This is Robert Altman’s best film in a long time. He captures the heart and soul of an entire generation through the lives of the characters on stage. Altman choreographs a cast including powerhouses like: Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Kline and Garrison Keillor as the big screen answer to his radio self, between beautiful images and sound design that only the master could create.

A Prairie Home Companion exists in that space where past, present and future collide with life and death and where people sing. It is a wonderful celebration of Americana and the past that made this nation great, a past that we are often all to eager to sweep under the carpet and declare dead in the face of progress. It is a film about death and the remembrance of those who have passed and what happens to what they leave behind. The radio show is dying but so are those in it, and their stories their lives will have to live on with those who will come next, but the question is, will they remember.

Leaving this film makes you want to do two things: write a check to NPR to make sure that future generations will be able to enjoy the real show for decades to come and seize each moment in life as your last, not just to live but to be alive. There is a difference.

As Guy Noir reminds us in the last shot “gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”


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