Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Film Comment, Panel Discussion..

A fascinating must read panel debate:

FILM CRITICISM IN CRISIS?: A New York Film Festival panel discussion hosted by Film Comment September 27, 2008, at the Walter Reade Theater

Here are some snippets.

Seung-hoon Jeung talks about the problems facing Korean cinema but the following words ring true of North American or even Indian cinema:

...But the problem now is not in terms of established critics versus bloggers but criticism itself versus the mass audience who don’t actually need criticism to pick out a film to see on the weekend. The mass audience thinks criticism should be just a brief guide for making choices rather than a means for getting serious ideas or information. They don’t want to suffer from a headache reading serious film criticism. In other words they’re looking for entertainment, not to be enlightened. They choose films based on word of mouth. They don’t really access criticism in print culture, they just read brief comments on the websites. So the Internet seems to have contributed to this shift in film culture. There was a kind of cinephilic enthusiasm from 1995 to early 2000, but after that the Korean film industry began to fluctuate and many Korean filmmakers began to find it hard to finance their projects.....
Emmanuel Burdeau: I’m thinking about that because Serge Daney wrote an incredible piece which was called in French "Pour une ciné-démographie" ("For a Ciné-Demographic") which says that you can tell the story of cinema by comparing the people on the screen and the people in the theaters. And he said, in the beginning, lots of people went to see lots of movies in which there were lots of people. And then, he says, when you arrive at the end of the modern age, you have the viewer who is alone in the theater watching a lonely guy walking alone, and to him that’s the end.
Jonathan Rosenbaum: There’s such a tendency to compartmentalize. I think it’s important, when you’re writing about a film, to think about how it connects to the rest of your life, to other arts, things that are happening to you. I think that film criticism tends to be way too much cut off, when it seems to me if it’s an important art form, it’s important because it addresses the way we live.
Audience member #4: I’m a film student over at NYU, I’m a cinema-studies major. I was just wondering, given the crisis, what are you guys’ hopes, concerns, and advice for

Jonathan Rosenbaum: See lots of movies.

Gavin Smith: Yeah. I was recently talking with someone about the fact that I was just realizing how little film criticism I’ve read, and I’m the editor of a film magazine. Shouldn’t I know everything about film criticism, shouldn’t I have read all the great film critics? I really haven’t. And when I tried to get to the bottom of why that was, I realized it was because I was more interested in going to see movies than I was reading about them. The time in my life where I read the most read about film was when I was a teenager and I didn’t have access to the movies themselves. A substitute was to read film criticism. Once I was out of that cage and could go to the movies, I would spend my time watching movies rather than reading other film critics. There’s no substitute for watching as many films as you can, and watching some of them over and over again....

No comments: