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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Cricketing: David Sterritt tosses a manifesto at Kent Jones

Reviewing Kent Jones‘ “Physical Evidence: Selected Film Criticism” at PopMatters, fellow cricket (and admitted colleague and drinking pal of Jones) David Sterritt offers a modest manifesto at the end: “Given [Jones’] gift for perceptive film-critical thought, I wish Jones would now address himself to a problem that few critics (including me) have tackled with the care, energy, and resourcefulness that it demands: the predisposition of nearly all film critics to approach their subject(s) in terms that value the emotional over the intellectual and the descriptive over the intuitive. Good movies touch our feelings, of course, but that isn’t the only thing that makes them good; and while Jones knows this—hence tinycricket.gifhis high praise for masters of film-thought like Hou Hsiao-hsien and Abbas Kiarostami, for instance—he too falls into the commonplace pattern of privileging the feelings that good films give him, and signaling his reactions in telegraphic ways that won’t mean much to people who aren’t equally familiar with the film or filmmaker in question.” He continues: “What’s needed today is a new paradigm of readily accessible yet rigorously thoughtful prose combining theoretical analysis with intuitive ideas about cinema and the aesthetic world it creates. Jones is one of the few writers who might actually be able to work out an innovative model along these lines. Start down the road, Kent, and you’ll be surprised how many will join you on the path.”

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles