Oct 27, 2012

Is film dying or just coming down with a nasty cough?

'...Thomson's one caveat is the result of having actually enjoyed a few “humane pictures made modestly on absorbing stories with a feeling for fictional lives that can be overwhelming”, including Winter’s Bone, The Arbor , A Prophet, and   InceptionIs Thomson aware that all four of those films were released in a single time year? Four! If I can count two or three humane, overwhelming movies in any one year, I count myself a lucky man. I am, of course, one of those attention-addled jarheads reared on Jaws and Star Wars who Denby and Thomson fear most, my expectations systematically lowered by a succession of THX-stereo laser blasts to the side of the head. But even Thomson, compiling his golden age list for the 30 and 40s — His Girl Friday, The Lady EveThe Grapes of Wrath,  The Ox-bow Incident,  Meet Me in St. Louis, Casablanca,  To Have and Have Not, Citizen Kane, Laura, Double Indemnity, The Best Years of Our Lives —  is entirely satisfied with a strike rate of only one great film every two years. So if one great film every two years makes for a ‘golden age’, what kind of funeral do four “humane, overwhelming” films every year make?  Can we have a rule that if you need most of the fingers of one hand to count the number of films whose virtues briefly dispel the funereal gloom like a Vermeer candle lighting up the valley of the shadow of death, then strictly speaking you oughtn’t be talking about the death of film at all? Strictly speaking, the number of films you will find chasing away the blues every year ought to be “zero.” Maybe one or two, if you think cinema is not quite at deaths door yet, but four?' — from my Guardian column this week  

1 comment:

  1. Indeed. I always say it's us spectacle-lovers that have it tough. No matter the year, a dozen indie and international darlings are released to rapturous reviews, and many of them probably are great. But how many cracking, excellent adventure bonanzas do we get? In good years, four or five.