Film Criticism in Crisis–complete transcript!

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Weren’t able to make the popular Film Comment panel that covered the state of film criticsm? Check out the complete transcript, or watch video excerpts.

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5 Comments on “Film Criticism in Crisis–complete transcript!”

  1. HarryTuttle Says:

    Thanks a lot!


  2. No probs, thanks for reading!

  3. HarryTuttle Says:

    David Hudson (his second paragraph): “Individually, the European press has always have been aligned with certain ideologies and certain points of view. They don’t hold so tightly to this idea of objectivity that the American press does, and I think that this is something that we may all find ourselves exploring.”

    I didn’t know that. How was Pauline Kael objective? or even Sarris. How is Ebert objective? Is the NYT objective?
    I always thought “objectivity” was a curse word in the USA, since Kael… that it was look down upon, that it denied the right to express one’s subjectivity.

    What does David Hudson mean by “objective”? That critics don’t give their opinions? They shouldn’t prefer auteurs over commercial venture to preserve objectivity?
    I don’t see the relation between the proverbial objectivity and the fact a critic could easily become distributor in Europe… Help me.

  4. David Hudson Says:

    Harry, the paragraph you’re referring to is so jumbled – I seem to have been trying to respond to too many open questions all at once – that I can easily see why there might be a misunderstanding here. I was thinking of European vs American approaches to journalism rather than criticism. You’re right, of course: all criticism everywhere is an objectivity-free zone.

    What I was picking up on was Emmanuel’s notion of a magazine as an advocate, a champion of certain filmmakers or groupings of filmmakers, and it seemed to me at the time that this was an idea that would occur more naturally to a European than to an American (and I could well be wrong, of course) since Europeans are used to having their newspapers and magazines and journals and so forth declare their biases up front – and usually quite proudly – whereas, in the US, papers (not so much magazines) strive to present themselves as paragons of “on the one hand, but then, on the other hand” objectivity.

  5. HarryTuttle Says:

    Thanks for the precision, David.
    I heard American journalism described as “fact-based investigation”, but in that sense they favour the first-hand experience of the reporter, rather than an objective big picture. That’s how they are perceived in France anyway.

    Isn’t there an open political bias between the Times and the Post? And if the Press is only liberal, it’s hardly objective either.

    I see how being an auteurist could appear biased if you always praise the same guys, but the point of being a critic is to tell which ones are the best filmmakers, so could we call “bias” favouring skills over mediocrity? This is an “objective bias” if that makes sense (as objective as evaluation artistic skills can be).

    What about Ray Carney’s bias with Cassavetes? He’s almost his agent, and his biographer, and a critic. Roger Ebert is running a festival of his choice of films. Film Comment is linked to an exhibition theatre, to the NYFF.

    Burdeau’s conflict of interest between criticism and promotion of films is another story. Though I’m not sure it would be easily accepted if it had to happen in France. The Press deontology is quite severe and usually kept in check.


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