"[..] Whatever else it does, the Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR) doesn't shy away from showing exceedingly long films. Pushingly long, some might say. [..]
But for all its worthiness, IFFR has what might be called an 'enjoyment problem'. You rarely if ever hear the word 'movie' (aka entertainment) uttered here, let alone 'motion picture' (industrial product). Here it's strictly 'film' (value-neutral) and preferably 'Cinema' (Art). This credo isn't flaunted with self-righteousness or reverence but is treated as a quietely incontestable given. Even when the festival shines a spotlight on forgotten or little-seen realm of commercial cinema [..] there is an underlying urge to reclassify the work as 'subversive' in the name of Cinema in a way that would be unthinkable with, say, John Landis or Luc Besson or Romantic Comedies. In the end, what all this comes down to is a commitment to shun and/or oppose dominant cinema (movies, entertainment), be it American or European. [..]
To be uncharitable, Rotterdam sometimes comes off like ground zero for all films miserable and abject. [..]
Not that there's anything wrong with that, but... is that all there is?"
Gavin Smith (Film Comment; March 2012)
This clown goes to Rotterdam like a douche-bag would crash a vegetarian restaurant and declare out loud : "What's the deal with veggies? Is that all there is? How about some burgers?"
In the background we can hear his soul-mate Dan Kois shouting "Fuck broccoli!"
In the background we can hear his soul-mate Dan Kois shouting "Fuck broccoli!"
First of all, if you looked outside of your own ass, maybe you would have noticed that "art cinema" is hardly "all there is" in the world... much less than anywhere else in your own country! The raison d'être of festivals such as Rotterdam is to nurse artfilms in a (self-identified) protected environment, a safe haven. Apparently Gavin is the only one who can take a plane all the way across the Atlantic ocean without being informed that the place he's covering is NOTORIOUSLY DEDICATED TO NON-COMMERCIAL CINEMA. There are tons of screens and festivals and media and events in the world reserved for commercial movies. In fact it's practically taking up 99% of the space available for cinema anywhere. So when you go to a sanctuary aiding endangered species you don't mock them for not giving MORE PUBLICITY, SCREENING TIME and AWARDS to commercial movies, unless you want to make an ass of yourself... And all the forcefully-faked "I'm not complaining", "the staff is agreeable", "a roll call of 21st century art-film prime movers"... won't redeem your baseless baby-level whining.
Only in America, could the editor in chief of a cinephile magazine insult art-friendly festivals and lick Hollywood ass in public! Try and do that in France dude, you'll meet the guillotine!
And, maybe this detail escaped your shallow reflection, the main reason commercial products aren't shown outside of multiplexes, might be because their quality DOES NOT MATCH the amount of effort, creativity, challenge, artistry, mastery that so-called "artfilms" achieve. You don't seem to make the difference between a junket (which purpose is to SELL whatever commercial product there is) and a festival (which purpose is to REWARD quality cinema, without bribes). I know this mentality is unheard of in the USA, you're probably not familiar with the idea of artistic evaluation, since the USA market only identifies products by their budget, marketing costs and BO revenues. If you like genre so much, why don't you try to learn how to write sound analysis of commercial movies so the related culture could MATURE in your country... only then maybe there will be more genre movies in places where QUALITY is rewarded.
What if the "Audience Award Poll" in high-school doesn't go to the Math class or Literature... but videogames do. The mass doesn't decide what stays in the curriculum.
How can you pound sense in his hollow skull? He doesn't even listen to himself... or remember what he said :
"And if there's one thing I've learned, it's that there's one standby you can always count on if inspiration doesn't come to the rescue. That's right, when all else fails, denouncing this or that film festival for failing to measure up in some way or other works everytime. All you have to do is invent some expectation or obligation that said festival level failed to meet, add water, and voilà!"
Gavin Smith (Film Comment; Sept-Oct 2011)
Are you fooling around? Don't you give a shit at all? Don't you care about keeping your country's culture afloat? Do you perversely enjoy seeing it sink and pushing it down deeper?
He knows he's being a douche, he knows he's using douchebag tactics, he knows it wrong... but he can't help himself, and goes right back at it.
His idea of Year's Best in 2011 was :
- Super 8 BLOCKBUSTER - Domestic
- Le garçon au vélo MAINSTREAM - Belgium
- Words of Mercury EXPERIMENTAL - Domestic
- A Dangerous Method MAINSTREAM - Domestic
- The Descendants MAINSTREAM - Domestic
- Midnight in Paris MAINSTREAM - Domestic
- Belle Epine MAINSTREAM - France
- The Deep Blue Sea MAINSTREAM - UK
- Keyhole EXPERIMENTAL - Canada
- Hugo MAINSTREAM - Domestic
Not a single Lav Diaz film in there, nor any overlong film he claims he "likes". The only one close to a non-commercial artfilm is the Dardennes, and the 2 experimental films. Everything else could easily play in a mainstream theatre (maybe not in the USA though, but then again they don't play anything that isn't marketed by the 6 major studios...).
Even Cahiers doesn't think Super 8 is better than Tree of Life...
I'm sorry for you that your taste sucks (fitting perfectly with the taste of the average American multiplexe-goer)... and I feel even more sorry about your readership that deserves better in FC than to be served the worthless whim of another self-indulgent pundit. Nobody informed you the type of films showed at the Lincoln Center? You thought you worked for Regal and Entertainment weekly???
I thought in the January issue (after having complained in the 2 previous issues that he had nothing to say, and all he knew was talking about his personal life memories) that he had the class to leave this page to his colleague Kent Jones... Wrong. He has nothing to say. It annoys him to write up an editorial. He doesn't know the purpose of an editorial. He drags his feet at overseas festivals. He craves for Hollywood braindead fun. Yet he's unable to figure out by himself that the magazine he works for kinda has nothing to do with his own self-indulgent taste!
No wonder American (shut-in) "cinephiles" don't know what "art", "auteur", "mise en scène", "culture", "canon", "cinema" are... They don't have role models in cinema institutions who could show an alternate worldview to the dominant Hollywood marketing propaganda. Gavin Smith believes that Hollywood needs him, and Film Comment to help them get entertainment to the "deprived" consumers, like the hundreds of other mainstream commercial media outlets doing just that in the USA. Useless. Shameless.
Did you take the 101 course for movie critics before landing at this job? Cause if you don't know what an art-film festival is supposed to screen, and you still haven't figured out after all these years in activity it's a pretty massive concern...
Why J. Hoberman, Todd McCarthy get laid off and this guy keeps his job after continuously spelling out he has no clue what the art-world is about...? Probably because everyone think he's a better genius... So I'm assuming that Kent Jones, Olaf Möller, Scott Foundas, Dave Kehr, Andrew Sarris all agree that bashing art-cinema-friendly festivals because they don't show enough entertainment is fine.
This is obvious why Pauline Kael won the war...
Is this real?
I have no problems with people who love entertainment... go ahead indulge. But why would someone who consumes the dominant offering go destroy the struggling marginal outlets that show the hard-sell art-cinema just because they don't obey the law of the market LIKE EVERYONE ELSE AROUND. There is plenty of room for entertainment fans to watch everything they want and more... (especially in the USA) why ruin it for people who wish to see something different? Art-friendly audiences, don't protest at the multiplexes because there are too many screens (4137 out of a total of 40000 available!!! so over 10% for just 1 movie, IS THAT ALL THERE IS???) showing The Hunger Games... or interrupting The Oscars because their nominees are safe and conventional. Enjoy your over-abundance of genre, and try not to rub it in the face of art-lovers.
- The critic who cried wolf
- Festival pundits (spoiled brats)
- Rotterdam 2012 by culturally aware critics
- October 2011 releases USA / The myth of an arthouse circuit in the USA
- "Overlong" Entertainment