RIP Robert Altman.
He made movies seem like music. Dialogue under his hand became fluid and beyond rote recitation. He did in his films what all good modern composers do; hire the best people and let them play within your framework.
There’s a great moment in a documentary for “Short Cuts” where he is instructing cinematographer Walt Lloyd how to shoot one of the wide shots in the “fishing with the corpse in the water” sequence. He says something along the line of “Just shoot that first, then move the camera over there.” What follows is a beautifully composed piece of film that looks like it was mulled over for months. That is how easy it can be: have an idea, get the best people you can to help you realize it and then be surprised.
And his surprise was ours, nearly every time.