'Gosford Park, the "Altmanesque" and Narrative Democracy'

Abstract : Often working with large casts of actors – and many featuring on screen simultaneously, with dialogues frequently overlapping one another and given little hierarchy in the sound design – US director Robert Altman (1925–2006) came to be associated with a signature style despite working in a range of genres, mostly in order to subvert their conventions. The adjective “Altmanesque” has come to apply to this aesthetic, one in which much is also left to chance, with actors given space to improvise and create their own characters within a larger tableau or “mural”. This paper will focus in particular on Altman’s 2001 multi-protagonist film Gosford Park, a British-American co-production written by Julian Fellowes. At once a parody of the Agatha Christie whodunit and of British costume drama, the film depicts a weekend party at an English manor house soured by the murder of the host. We will examine how Altman’s aesthetic helps channel a critique of the British class system by giving greater voice to the domestic staff so often relegated to the background in heritage cinema. Furthermore, we will ask how Altman’s intervention into recognizably British production values and social codes enables him to explore and refine his democratic vision of filmmaking, which so often sought to challenge the hierarchization of social relations. Similarly, we will consider whether, in deliberately undermining conventional cinematic hierarchies – especially those pertaining to the use of sound, image density and character identification – the “Altmanesque” in Gosford Park also represents the democratization of spectatorship, as the director “wanted to make the audience find for themselves the drama in the situation”. Finally, this paper will ask if the “Altmanesque”, reinforcing as it does the notion of the auteur – the author-director figure in what is undeniably a highly collaborative medium – is in fact compatible with the notion of democracy.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
"Narrative Democracy in 20th- and 21st-Century British Literature and Visual Arts”, SEAC 2018 conference, Nov 2018, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France
Liste complète des métadonnées

https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01911889
Contributeur : James Dalrymple <>
Soumis le : dimanche 4 novembre 2018 - 14:57:14
Dernière modification le : mardi 6 novembre 2018 - 01:05:36

Identifiants

  • HAL Id : hal-01911889, version 1

Collections

Citation

James Dalrymple. 'Gosford Park, the "Altmanesque" and Narrative Democracy'. "Narrative Democracy in 20th- and 21st-Century British Literature and Visual Arts”, SEAC 2018 conference, Nov 2018, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France. 〈hal-01911889〉

Partager

Métriques

Consultations de la notice

9