September 3, 2001
6:01 PM   Subscribe

Pauline Kael has died. Love or hate her, she was influential and different, and at the time shaped how we view film.
posted by tiaka (12 comments total)
All budding film reviewers would do well to invest in a set of Pauline Kael's collections. She was wholly herself in her passions but invigoratingly rational in her assessments. She turned her pet hates and downright schoolgirl crushes into cool disquisitions on style and truth in the movies.
The sad thing is that her film criticism is still way ahead of the competition. How dull everyone else seems - with a few exceptions, like Rex Reed and Anthony Lane)
She needs to be read more than ever. If her death helps people find out how to love movies again, it will all have have been worth it.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:20 PM on September 3, 2001

I typically loathe "me, too" posts, but in this case I can't help but jump in. I've been an avid reader of Ms. Kael's for... well, as long as I can remember. Even when I have disagreed with her assessments, I have always respected her intellligence, her wit and her obvious love of film. I for one will miss her work.
posted by m.polo at 6:53 PM on September 3, 2001

Kael brought the personal into film criticism and championed serious criticism of non-serious movies. She helped bring the French New Wave to American cinema, and didn't feel that a film needed to be foreign to be interesting to intellectuals. Siskel and Ebert may not have been film students, but they were her disciples in encouraging a popular audience for better movies, especially better American movies.
posted by dhartung at 9:24 PM on September 3, 2001

The thing I'll remember most about Pauline Kael was her ridiculous hatchet job against Michael Moore's Roger & Me.
posted by rcade at 9:30 PM on September 3, 2001

I never related to her like I did to Andrew Sarris in the Voice, or Richard Schickel or David Thomson for example, but she was an icon in her day. I'll probably appreciate her more now. Though I don't watch films or read reviews like I used to.
posted by aflakete at 2:34 AM on September 4, 2001

I think Moore summed it up rather nicely at the end of that article, actually. "Next time a critic wants to view your film on her funky little Sanyo VCR... SEND HER THE DAMN TAPE!" You don't get good reviews by being an asshole auteur to the reviewer.
posted by darukaru at 2:59 AM on September 4, 2001

Anyone who does a hatchet jo on "Roger & Me" stands as an icon in my world.

She was a great reviewer, on top of that. Respects.
posted by davidmsc at 4:34 AM on September 4, 2001

now that shes dead she was a 'reviewer'

instead of a dirty stinkin' critic.

ever read the CLCs? (literary criticism) have you ever read a GOOD review in the CLCs?

its full of bitter untalented writers who just trash literary greats because hey : they once wrote at an 8th grade level for Time magazine or some other braindamaged magazine.
posted by Satapher at 6:49 AM on September 4, 2001

Satapher, have you ever READ anything that Pauline Kael wrote? She was unquestionably one of the most knowledgeable, thoughtful and insightful writers about film of the last century (The Michael Moore thing notwithstanding; and even he seems to understand what happened and why). Don't get a bug up your ass about "critics" here, it's utterly inappropriate.

Now. My next thought. I'm just a little depressed because I thought she died a decade ago. In fact, I can remember watching a few movies in the last few years and thinking "it's too bad Pauline Kael didn't get to see this, she would have had something great to say about X or Y". But then maybe I'm just a sad loser.
posted by bcwinters at 7:14 AM on September 4, 2001

Anyone who does a hatchet jo on "Roger & Me" stands as an icon in my world.

Did you read Moore's column? Kael didn't just claim Roger & Me was a bad film. She made wildly inaccurate claims about GM and economic conditions in Flint, Michigan, accusing Moore of getting his facts wrong.
posted by rcade at 2:01 PM on September 4, 2001

Moore made a pretty well-received, now basically forgotten documentary, a RATM music video, some Nader propaganda and not much else (Canadian Bacon, anybody?). Kael's role in her field (journalism) has been way bigger and more influential than Moore's role in the history of cinema.

I'd much rather read a Kael book thand watch a Michael Moore movie, excuse me
posted by matteo at 5:12 AM on September 5, 2001

I'm not trying to compare them (although you are giving Moore short shrift by ignoring TV Nation and The Awful Truth). I just think Kael's grossly unprofessional act is something we should also remember along with the hosannas.
posted by rcade at 9:32 PM on September 5, 2001

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