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Ray Pride

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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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch