September 29, 2008

NYFF Podcast. Film Criticism.

Aaron Hillis and Andrew Grant begin this year's series of podcasts from the New York Film Festival by talking with a few of the participants in Saturday's panel, Film Criticism in Crisis?

NYFF Panel

I blather a bit, but things get interesting when Jonathan Rosenbaum and Film Comment editor (and panel moderator) Gavin Smith exchange views on the current state of things. For pix and quotes from all of the participants, see the filmlink blog's Amanda McCormick; for further reports, see James Van Maanen, Keith Uhlich at the House Next Door and indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez.

To download or listen to the podcast, click here.

Update, 10/3: "But is the Internet really the answer?" asks the L Magazine's Mark Asch.

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Posted by dwhudson at September 29, 2008 4:58 PM


and to think, you can talk about film criticism without being in a dive bar in new york.

Posted by: john lichman at September 29, 2008 8:09 PM

Very enjoyable to be a West Coast fly on the wall and listen in on this roundelay. Thank you David, Aaron, Andrew and participants for reminding of the role of enthusiasm in film criticism.

Posted by: Maya at September 29, 2008 9:25 PM

Blather? What are you, the most modest man in show biz (aggregation)? You were most definitely a part of both the panel and podcast, sir. Me says!

Posted by: Aaron Hillis at September 29, 2008 10:11 PM

Wow thanks a lot for this great podcast guys. I'm happy to see the attention has finally shifted on actually meaningful concerns (after 3 summits), rather than defending a conservative print territory. I hope the debate on the panel was as interesting as this glimpse here.
Do you know if there will be a release of a transcript or an audio of the full debate? That would be dandy.

Posted by: HarryTuttle at September 30, 2008 2:03 AM

Harry --

The entire discussion was videotaped, but I'm not sure when and where (or if) the Film Society is planning on releasing it.

Like you, I was pleased that it was, for the first time, a step forward. It was great to hear Emmanuel Bordieu from Cahiers explain the current situation with the magazine, and I was lucky to have the opportunity to chat with him afterward.

Posted by: Filmbrain at September 30, 2008 8:45 AM

Burdeau just announced that their candidacy to take over Cahiers was not validated by Le Monde. But their project was a little controversial, especially their conflation with a movie distributor (conflict of interest).
It's one thing to distribute DVDs of old masterpieces that had a theatrical release already, and that's another business altogether to pick a new-made film and take the risk to release it for the first time...

You're lucky he graced NYC with his presence, because he didn't bother to attend the roundtable he was invited to at La Cinémathèque this summer.

Posted by: HarryTuttle at September 30, 2008 3:01 PM

Hmmm...critics working as distributors? Where I have I heard that before? ;-)

I actually spoke with Emmanuel about that very subject, and I think the conflict of interest argument is flimsy, especially considering the type of magazine we're talking about. Wouldn't a DVD line curated by Cahiers writers/editors be wonderful for cinephiles?

Yet from Le Monde's perspective, I can see why they would reject such an idea. It's a damn shame, and I hope an alternative solution is found.

Posted by: Filmbrain at September 30, 2008 7:03 PM

Your case is not nearly as conflictual for you. First you don't run Film Comment, you publish in a personal blog, and Benten is a DVD distributor. Burdeau wants to distribute in VOD films without theatrical distributors, meaning they become financially tied to the object of their job as critics. And other films reviewed in the magazine are second-classed.
So, will they release films they praised or will they praise films they released? Will they pan films that are too close a competition to their champions?

They will inevitably corrupt the trust the reader has in the critical stance of this national magazine.

Burdeau is right, someone needs to distribute undistributed films. But there are better people out there to do this. Like you for instance. An "independent institution" like Cahiers cannot create an artificial zoo where some films are more "Cahiers" than others by contract, especially not if they sign the contract before the film is made (if they are also producers). This gambling is not for critics to play with.

Posted by: HarryTuttle at October 2, 2008 1:07 AM