A giant and a maverick in American filmmaking, Robert Altman was one of the few who lived his life as a human being and an artist completely by his own terms. Part of his greatness came from his focus as a writer on the interrelationships between the different characters in his films. A keen ear for dialogue, one of the first things you notice in an Altman feature is that his characters sound like real people, not constructs on a piece of paper. Part of that is also down Altman’s encouraging his actors to sometimes abandon his scripts altogether in favor of improvisation. While that may be an audacious move, it wouldn’t have been possible had he not created for his actors in films such as McCabe & Mrs. Miller, 3 Women, Short Cuts and Gosford Park had he not created a solid foundational base from which they draw inspiration. A trailblazer way ahead of his time.