Robert Altman used to say that he never cared that much about story; he just liked dropping his camera into communities of interesting people, and then watching them be funny, talented, intense, or just colorful. Toward the end of his life, Altman stopped even pretending that he was up to anything else with his movies. For 2003’s beautiful The Company (airing at 5:25 p.m. Eastern on Indieplex), producer/star Neve Campbell and writer Barbara Turner dramatized life in and around Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet, and then Altman purged the film of almost all plot, making more of a documentary than a drama, devoting The Company more to what’s happening onstage than backstage. Only Malcolm McDowell as company director is playing anything like a “character” in the movie, as he provokes employees and meddles with minor details. Otherwise, the actors are low-key, and Altman is respectful to them, shooting the ballet from a variety of angles and keeping the camera moving, without obscuring what the dancers are doing. With The Company, Altman found a scenario to match his own approach to creation, showing people who just start moving, and then tweak until they get it right.
August 27, 2014 newsreel