Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 16: Tue Jun 1

A Perfect Couple (Altman, 1979): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 5.50pm

This 35mm presentation, part of the Robert Altman season, is also being screened at BFI Southbank on June 14th and 16th. Full details here.

Time Out review:

Altman hits a note of surprising magic here, commenting on cinematic traditions of romantic comedy even as he updates them. The lovers (Dooley, Heflin) meet through an LA video-dating service. He's an ageing antique dealer, driven to the bureau by his entombment in a repressive Greek-American family; she's an aimless waif who lives and sings in a communal rock group tyrannised by its lead singer. Music is as focal as it was in Nashville: the classics in which Dooley's family are steeped, versus the Easy-Listening raunch which Heflin peddles. Though both commune and traditional family are shown to be equal parts alluring and lethal, the search for togetherness is treated with a satirical sympathy, so that the happy ending - clearly recognised when it comes as a slyly structured fantasy - works as a real reward for both lovers and audience.

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