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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

entry arrow5:16 PM | A Reception of Chaos

There are no laugh-out loud moments in Robert Altman's A Wedding [1978], but it is supposed to be a comedy, and by virtue of its intentions, it is an effective one. I've been looking for a copy of this film for a long time when I decided some time ago that I wanted to be a completist with Altman's filmmography -- a daunting proposition, given his output. Who knew I could find the entire film in YouTube? And this film does delve deep into recognizable Altman territory: the overlapping dialogues, the huge tumbling cast (many of whom are cinematic superstars), the unwieldy narrative that we have to piece together from the whirlpool of strands as characters descend on a singular colorful vortex of a particular world that defines all of them for the time being. We had that in the mashup of politics and country music of Nashville, in the Parisian fashion week fever of Pret-a-Porter, in the British class system examinations via a murder mystery of Gosford Park, in the ballet world of The Company, in the Hollywood dark secrets of The Player, in the Raymond Chandler lives of Short Cuts. I have loved the peculiar flows of those worlds, and in 1978, Altman brought that unique style of story-telling in his examination of a society wedding. Two big families in Illinois -- old money and new money in collision -- descend on a family mansion for a wedding reception complete with its adherence for traditions, and all sorts of merry chaos, untimely deaths, sexual shenanigans, and dark secrets tumble out -- and part of the fun is figuring out how each one is related to whom and what skeleton in the closet they possess. There are many, many speaking lines, but by the end of the film, we somehow know quite intimately each member of the wedding party. I tittered all throughout this film. No big laughs, just small doses of giggles as I recognized in the entanglements of these people the very funny comedy of being human.

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