“Images” was ahead of its time. Susannah York plays a haunted woman who lingers throughout her house. She fears her husband and his phantom friends that keep slinking in and out of her life. While not quite a haunting and not quite a mental illness film, Altman doesn’t desire answers. Images exists to make the audience question what is presented to them. Unreliable narrators are one thing, but what happens when the filmed narrative starts to lie to you? It puts you in the driver’s seat.
Mental dissolution is a hard thing to watch in real life and in the cinema. The film uses metafiction and audio design to really play up York’s decline. It’s one thing to go crazy and it’s another to fall apart. Falling apart requires having a normal starting point and then being aware of what you’re losing. Going crazy is just a pity trip into mental collapse. What Altman achieves here is probably the first serious look at what happens to a lost mind.
For the serious Altman fans, I recommend pairing it away from the Bergman influences. Watch it as the progressing influence of the Altman woman from Cold Day in the Park to Nashville.
- Scene-select commentary
- An Appreciation
- 2.35:1 1080p transfer
- LPCM MONO
RELEASE DATE: 3/20/18
The Plot Thus Far
The early seventies were a period of remarkable activity for Robert Altman, producing masterpiece after masterpiece. At the time he came to make Images, MASH and McCabe & Mrs. Miller were behind him, with The Long Goodbye, California Split and Nashville still to come. Originally conceived in the mid-sixties, Images concerns a pregnant children’s author (Susannah York, who won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival) whose husband (Rene Auberjonois) may or may not be having an affair. While on vacation in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations and visions of a doppelgänger. Scored by an Oscar-nominated John Williams, with “sounds” by Stomu Yamash’ta (The Man Who Fell to Earth), Images also boasts the remarkable cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind).