Monday, May 11, 2009

Keogh Versus JPod

The Phoenix's film critic Peter Keough takes on John Podhoretz's assertion that film critics won't be missed because: "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."

Keough responds:

And so, tough shit for anyone who might have been entertained by, for example, the works of the hilarious and moving Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki. Or, while we're on the subject of Scandinavian film, who cares about the upcoming delightful and genuinely audience pleasing film "O'Horten" by the Finnish director Bent Hamer? If people like John Podhoretz don't know anything about them, how can they be any good?

And never mind that Finnish director, Ingmar Bergman. Or was he Swedish? Frankly, no one is interested. As for anyone who might be interested in such nonsense, as Podhoretz wrote on the occasion of Bergman's death, "They [don't] admire the medium. They [are] offended by its unseriousness, by its capacity to entertain without offering anything elevating at the same time." They are, he concludes, "embarrassed by the movies."

These deluded, serious people who waste their time learning about the medium they are embarrassed by also claim to admire such uninteresting films as "Vertigo" ("silly," says Podhoretz), "The Searchers" ("turgid, wooden, boring, weird") and "2001" ("a crashing bore").

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