Good at heart

5:40/5:31/8:03, 70/89. Birthday of Anne Frank, who as a young girl awaiting her horrible fate could write “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Absurd, yet fundamentally good at heart could also describe the strange but very recognizable world we saw up on the big screen at yesterday’s late matinee in Hillsboro Village. Nashville definitely didn’t flatter us; but as Older Daughter said as we left the Belcourt’s screening of the Altman classic last night, the film depicted an earlier era that she couldn’t identify with. It’s an era I lived through, in my formative Midwestern years, but don’t really identify with either.

Most of the recognizably-located scenes were filmed in the summer of ’74, years before I became a Nashvillian, back when I was a newly-licensed driver in my Dodge Dart with the “Impeach Nixon” sticker on the bumper. More than four decades later, it’s become a historical curiosity even for me. The big finale at the Parthenon, a landmark we locals take for granted as benign and comfortably reassuring, still has the power to shock with whatever it’s trying to say about America, violence, and freedom or its absence. Most critics seemed to agree that the movie was saying something important and powerful. Ebert thought it was saying we’re all in this together. Free or not.

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