Why the birthday party didn’t happen
- Short Cuts directed by Robert Altman
- Short Cuts: The Screenplay by Robert Altman and Frank Barhydt
Capra/Airlift, 144 pp, £12.99, October 1993, ISBN 0 88496 378 0
- Short Cuts by Raymond Carver, introduced by Robert Altman
Harvill, 157 pp, £6.99, March 1994, ISBN 0 00 272704 8
Robert Altman’s Short Cuts is a long, loose-looking movie, but the looseness is an effect, carefully worked for. Plenty of themes recur throughout – insecurity, chance, rage, damage, the long, bruising war between men and women – and although there are fourteen or fifteen stories here (based on extrapolated from ten stories by Raymond Carver – the handouts and the introduction solemnly say nine stories and a poem, but the so-called poem is also a prose narrative), they are intricately stitched together, like a miniaturised Comédie humaine set in Los Angeles.