The Discreet Bourgeois

Possessed by an urgency to make sure all this stuff I love doesn't just disappear


Book Recommendation




The Nashville Chronicles by Jan Stuart

In August 1975 I came back to NYC after backpacking around Europe for the first time. I was still swimming in all things European. A very good friend at the time told me ‘There’s a new movie called Nashville. When you see that movie, you see truth’.

Was she ever right. I saw it a few days after my return and it was an experience that I never recovered from. The sheer hugeness of that American world it depicted stunned me. It almost wiped my European trip from my brain. That entire summer I followed that movie all over NYC and have since seen it at least 30 times.

Over the years I have made sure that everyone I care about not only sees this movie but understands why it is probably the great film of the 1970s – probably one of the greatest American film of all times, sharing that pride of place with its equally audacious older brother Citizen Kane.

This book was written on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the film. I never knew it existed until I happened to see the author’s by-line in a review in the New York Sunday Times Book Section a few weeks ago.

This is essential reading for anyone else obsessed with the movie. Stuart interviewed almost everyone involved with the making of Nashville and has woven together a chatty, gossipy but never cheap backstage story. The thorough explanation of how Altman’s improvisational style gave the film its unique form is probably what led my friend to declare it as ‘Truth’ so many years ago.

See the movie, please, at least 25 times. Then luxuriate in this tasty book!

(reprinted from


The Last Ten Films I’ve Seen

  1. The Guilt Trip (Anne  Fletcher)
  2. Silver Lining Playbook (David O. Russell)
  3. Wagner & Me (Patrick McGrady)
  4. One Hundred Years of Japanese Film (Nagisa Oshima)
  5. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow)
  6. Life Of Pi (Ang Lee)
  7. Sayat Nova (The Color of Pomegranates) (Sergei Paradjanov)
  8. The Great McGinty (Preston Sturges)
  9. The Life Of Oharu (Kenji Mizoguchi)
  10. Commissar (Aleksandr  Askoldov)


(Yes, above viewing reflects run-up to Oscars, but it also reflects research for upcoming post on Sergei Paradjanov. Stay tuned.)