Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pauline Kael Week

Posting for Pauline Kael Week concludes today with one bonus entry, but the discussions are ongoing. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. The rest of you, please don't be afraid to jump in; just read and react!

Scrumptious Kael morsels covering 14 films. Feel free to contribute some of your own favorite morsels in the comments section.

Day 5
Kael on Criticism
In honor of her birthday. If you have broad thoughts about Kael's criticism, or memories you'd like to share, please leave them in the comments section here.

Kael on Cult Cinema
Touches on Easy Rider, Midnight Cowbowy, Alice's Restaurant and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in this snapshot of Kaels view of cinema closing out the 60s.

Day 4
Kael on Cinema Trash - Part I (Art)
"There is so much talk now about the art of the film that we may be in danger of forgetting that most of the movies we enjoy are not works of art."

Kael on Cinema Trash - Part II (Technique)
"Technique is hardly worth talking about unless it’s used for something worth doing; that’s why most of the theorizing about the new art of television commercials is such nonsense."

Kael on Cinema Trash - Part III (Enjoyment)
"We generally become interested in movies because we enjoy them and what we enjoy them for has little to do with what we think of as art."

Kael on Cinema Trash - Part IV (Worthwhile)
"A nutty Puritanism still flourishes in the arts, not just in the schoolteachers’ approach of wanting art to be “worthwhile,” but in the higher reaches of the audience life with those ideologues who denounce us for enjoying trash as if this enjoyment took us away from the really disturbing, angry new art of our time and somehow destroyed us."

Day 3
Kael on Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man
A takedown of stunt acting.

The Slow Fade-Out of Pauline Kael
by Doug Bonner of Boiling Sand

Day 2
Kael on Movies on Television
Has TV negatively affected the natural selection of cinematic touchstones?

Day 1
Kael on Violence in Cinema
A review of A Clockwork Orange provides the opportunity to discuss violence in cinema.

Kael on Epics
Kael compares John Huston to David Lean.


Anonymous said...

That I'm not a movie critic now is not Pauline Kael's fault. She provided a great deal of my preadolescent education in movies at the three theaters she programmed in Berkeley, CA, in the early sixties. ("Oh. My. Ghod. Not another aging boomer reminiscence." Bear with me, eyerollers. Or effin go somewhere else.)

The Studio, the Cinema, and (IIRC) the Guild were "art houses" of a type that no longer exists.
What was an 11-year-old kid doing there? Tagging along with my deaf older brother, who in the decades before closed-captioning needed movies to be silent or subtitled. So I saw a lot of Chaplin, Keaton, Harold Lloyd, the Keystone Kops, and so on. Often on the same bill were W.C. Fields, Mae West, the Marx Brothers. Stuff you still can't find on DVD. A little later came Toshiro Mifune and Satyajit Ray.

All of it was copiously annotated in the program notes she wrote and sent monthly, or maybe quarterly, to subscribers. Every film she ran there got a mini-essay. These reviews, if copies still exist and could be published in some form, would be a nice counterpoint to her New Yorker criticism. Instead of the often crappy stuff she was paid to see, these were movies she was enthusiastic about.

orestes said...

Kael's incomparable short program notes from the 1950s--plus all the capsule reviews she subsequently wrote for the front of The New Yorker--are available in "5001 Nights at the Movies," a 950-page book from 1991. The introduction by William Shawn, then editor of The New Yorker, succinctly explains why Kael is the greatest critic that the movies have had so far.

Craig said...

Not sure if you know, but you got a shout-out from Jim Wolcott: