So how nice for me to see that I might have yet another source to extract some tasty morsels of information in quotation and some further historical data in the SXSW-debuting "For the Love of Movies: A History of American Film Criticism." Witten and directed by Gerald Peary, produced by Amy Geller, and narrated by Patricia Clarkson (ever the literate thespian), it is a project that has been in development for years - not unlike my own - and takes on the gargantuan task of the issue which, as any historian or storyteller might tell you, opens up into a much larger dialogue. Jeff Wells puts it:
"It's a hell of a subject -- a chronicle of magnificent obsessions and magnificent dreams, and a rise-and-fall story covering scores of critics, the entirety of the Hollywood film culture from the '20s to the present, and hundreds if not thousands of movies."The documentary assembles a wonderful set of critics both big and small to discuss their positionality in the industry and the spectrum of criticism. So wonderful are they I may not have to interview folks like I thought I might. (But if you'd like to make a contribution to my scholarly examination of the industry, then please let me know. I'd love to still get some good direct sources in.) Being a film, though, and subject to time constraints (this isn't PBS, after all) the film doesn't look to give you a piece-by-piece dissection of the business or its constituents, but it does "agreeabl[y] canoe ride down memory creek" and "with a tinge of melancholy" as Wells says, serving up the task more than sufficiently and with enough provocation and neutrality to stimulate spirited discussion. Discussion about what the critics now mean to us as targets of an endless flurry of infinitely variegated movies. The trailer (which is rather short, and sparse of the prevailing issues) is below:
Do you read anything by the critics anymore?
IMAGE from: Listal
IMAGES from: The NY Times
SCOOPED first by: Cinematical