Sendungsbewusstsein

Kritische Auseinandersetzung mit den Medien

Nicht nur Filmkritik Freitag, 27. April 2007

Filed under: Film,Medien — peet @ 9:40 Uhr
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In der Zeitung „The Christian Science Monitor“ von heute lese ich gerade einen netten Artikel „In defence of film critics“ von Peter Rainer (Link). Fragmente daraus:

Why do we need film critics? It’s a question that movie executives, publicists, and even readers often ask around this time of year, as we edge into summer, and the studios haul out their extravaganzas – the types of films often panned by reviewers. […]

My larger point here is that movie criticism, as a profession, cannot be looked at apart from the megabillion dollar industry to which it is tethered. […]

Part of the reason for the increasing vehemence toward movie critics is the rise of the Internet. Blogginess has overtaken critical discourse on the Web. But this opinion-making – I’m being polite in calling it that – is not the same thing as real criticism. Because movies are such an accessible and relatively cheap form of entertainment, as opposed to, say, the opera or ballet, everybody can feel like a movie critic.

I’m not saying that film critics should only come in one size – that only through years of cogitating on the classics can one be properly certified. Sometimes the most interesting pieces on a movie are written by the nonprofessionals: by sociologists and political writers or critics from the other arts. Or by just plain folks. The problem with much so-called serious movie criticism today is that it is too self-referential and insular. Too much of it reads like it was written by people who only know movies and haven’t lived a life.

The same is true, of course, of the moviemakers themselves. One reason, for example, why I am repelled by some of the violence I see in movies is that it looks to have been perpetrated by directors who haven’t lived much of a life, either. They know how to film violence but not its consequences.

My approach to criticism – and I’ve been at it since the 1970s – is simple. I write to please myself and hope that it will please you too, too. And I don’t mean by this that you must always, or even often, agree with me. Movies, even trashy ones, often affect us deeply, which is why disagreements over their quality can become highly charged and personal.

This is as it should be. I can only practice my profession honestly if I am true to my own feelings. I want to convey why a movie matters to me, or why it disgusts me, or leaves me cold. And everybody’s experience is unique. That’s why there is no such thing as „objective“ criticism. Criticism is an art, not a science.

And if I happen to love a movie that’s a box-office hit, so much the better. From „The Godfather“ movies to „Jaws“ to „Dumb and Dumber“ to „The Lord of the Rings,“ I’ve often been on the right side of the cash register. But this is tangential to what I do. If it wasn’t, I’d be in the advertising business instead of the movie critic business. I’d like to think there is still a difference between the two.

Gut gesagt, finde ich. Und das passt nicht nur zur Filmkritik.

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