August 15, 2006

Are They All Out Of A Job?

Apparently, this is the story this slow summer—film criticism is dead. According to the Los Angeles Times today, the death knell has sounded and the internet is the one pulling on the cord. Of course, it's important in a ground-breaking article like this to reference longingly Big Mama PK:

What we're seeing is not so much the death of criticism as the death of the culture of criticism, the culture in which a critic such as Pauline Kael — despite writing for a small circulation magazine like the New Yorker — could have a huge trickledown influence, not just with the chattering class, but with filmmakers and executives who hung on her every word, either in agony or ecstasy, depending on the verdict.

Then, the director juxtaposition in this next graf made CC a little ill:

But today we're in an era in which shared enthusiasm matters more than analysis, stylistic cool trumps emotional substance. The world has changed. The vanguard filmmakers of the '60s — the era that spawned our last great generation of critics — were Godard, Kubrick and Antonioni, filmmakers under the spell of the intellectual fervor sparked by existentialism and Marxism. The filmmakers with a youth-culture following today, be it Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson, are largely ideology free, masters of detachment and stylistic homage. Like their audience, they prefer irony to Big Ideas.

Maybe the real problem is that the mainstream critics have been in their cushy places for ages. They don't have the incentive to be inventive. In Cinecultist's mind, there's still important work to be done by criticism on the web or in print, it really makes little difference. The skill of any critic lies in identifying how cinema continues to represent our shared experience and what that means about our culture right now. This article goes on to say that places like the LA Times should be championing their critics and bringing them into the 21st century with up to the minute responses on the pop culture bombardment. But real commentary seems to need time to percolate. It may be at it's best when it's slow moving, but Cinecultist refuses to believe that the film critic is kaput.

Posted by karen at August 15, 2006 6:09 PM