12 May 2009

This deprofessionalization is probably the best thing that could have happened to the field. Film criticism requires nothing but an interesting sensibility. The more self-consciously educated one is in the field--by which I mean the more obscure the storehouse of cinematic knowledge a critic has--the less likely it is that one will have anything interesting to say to an ordinary person who isn't all that interested in the condition of Finnish cinema. Amateurism in the best sense will lead to some very interesting work by people whose primary motivation is simply to express themselves in relation to the work they're seeing--a purer critical impulse than the one that comes with collecting a paycheck along the way.

--John Podhoretz on film criticism's declining footprint. I don't think critics are going to go the way of the dodo very soon -- Podhoretz seems to be arguing for his own extinction, which seems like an unwise choice -- but my blogging side likes the notion of purity of impulse, even while my inner professional critic takes umbrage at the idea that money automatically taints the work. (Found via @editorialiste.)

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Professional critics, I think, have the same strength and weakness: they've seen a lot of movies (or read a lot of books, or seen a lot of ballet, or whatever they're critiquing), so they know what they're talking about and can understand any allusions or context, but the problem is that someone who sees five movies a week (the film critic) vs. someone who sees five movies a year (a normal person reading the review) are almost certainly looking for different qualities in the movies they choose to see.