Though not as widely seen as some of the more treasured Robert Altman movies from the Seventies — M*A*S*H, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Nashville — California Split (1974) deserves to be
remembered as one of the essential works from this prolific American director. Discounting the tainted 2004 DVD of the film (cut down due to music-rights issues), several signs point toward Split‘s resurgence: It screened to a packed audience during
MoMA’s recent month-plus Altman retrospective (on the occasion, the Voice‘s Alan Scherstuhl called Split “the director’s most inviting” work), while the well-received Sundance title Mississippi Grind — right down to the cadence of it — sounds like a clear appropriation of Split‘s bitter, casino-drenched, buddy-comedy premise. Perhaps even more telling is Film Forum’s noble decision to screen the movie — on 35mm, with a Q&A featuring Altman’s wife, Kathryn, and author Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan (of the new book Altman) — on what would have been the director’s 90th birthday.
Fri., Feb. 20, 7:20 p.m., 2015