It's not like I needed much help getting radicalized at UT in 1970, what with the Vietnam War, campus protests and a host of college indiscretions at $10 an ounce. But never before had I seen a movie with such a strong strain of "anti" as MASH--anti-war, anti-hero, anti-authority. I easily gleaned that MASH's war-is-hellraising theme wasn't about the Korean War; not when Vietnam was just a college deferment away. And here was a dark comedy about war, not the way Patton, also released in 1970, had depicted war (noble, triumphant), but with spurting blood and the ridicule of authority by the doctors and nurses of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, who had earned the right to make fun of death as they tried to cheat it. Unlike the revolution I was too middle-class to fully engage, Robert Altman's MASH was, for its time, open cinematic rebellion, with its overlapping dialogue, episodic narrative, improvisational acting and Marx Brothers-like irreverence. Though somewhat politically incorrect for our time, that should be easily forgiven by those attending the Dallas Film Society's Free Films on First Thursdays series at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The free screening starts at 7 p.m., but there's dinner and cocktails by Wolfgang Puck in the Nasher Cafe (not free) beginning at 5 p.m. For more info call 214-242-5177.
Thu., June 4, 2009