von Maël Mubalegh, Lars Tore Halvorsen
The poetic French expression «film choral» meaning “musical choir”, has proven to be a useful concept in describing cinematic narratives made up of multiple storylines following several protagonists within the frame of one story. If we consider this evocative metaphor a stable genre the same way we do «western», «film noir» and «musical», it would take the form of a constant interweaving of character voices, building up to a complex piece of music with recurring themes and motifs unifying in an anticipated climax. An undisputed master of this genre from the American end in the second half of the 20th century was Robert Altman. In cult movies like Nashville, The Long Goodbye and The Player Altman succeeded in orchestrating the chaos of reality, crafting cinematographic frescoes abounding in both tones and pictorial layers. The Altmanesque vision is probably what the widely celebrated Hollywood auteur Paul Thomas Anderson had in mind while directing his third feature film Magnolia, released in 1999.