California Split (Altman, 1974): ICA London 10am
Robert Altman made a number of groundbreaking films in the 1970s (MASH, The Long Goodbye, Nashville and McCabe and Mrs Miller). This one has slipped through the net but is no less innovative and is a must-see for anyone interested in the director's work.
Elliott Gould (slumbering through the decade in his inimitable style) and George Segal are excellent in the lead roles. It's funny and poignant and undoubtedly the best film I've seen on the subject of gambling as the pair take the well-worn road from casino to racetrack to card hall, ending up in Reno.
The film, part of the Screening Conditions ‘Costly Games’ series exploring the cinematic portrayal of gambling and chance from a psychoanalytic perspective, will be introduced by psychoanalyst Andrea Sabbadini and followed by a discussion with guest speaker Al Alvarez. There's a two-for-one ticket offer available if you click here.
Here is the link to the ICA website with more details on the presentation.
Here is the Chicago Reader review:
'Robert Altman's masterful 1974 study of the psychology of the compulsive gambler. Elliott Gould, loose, jocular, and playful, and George Segal, neurotic, driven, and desperate, are really two halves of the same personality as they move from bet to bet, game to game, until they arrive for the big showdown in Reno. As in all Altman films, winning is losing; and the more Altman reveals, in his oblique, seemingly casual yet brilliantly controlled way, the more we realize that to love characters the way Altman loves his, you have to see them turned completely inside out.' '