Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Critic Is a Four Letter Word

I was going to make my first post, of importance, a quote from David duChemin but I accidentally came across the following and decided to use it instead. This is from the movie critic, Robert Ebert’s Journal published in the Sun Times in September 2008. The title of the article is Critic is a Four Letter Word.

He first discusses critics and how people think of critics—both the critics and the thinking is that to critique is to criticize. Critics are thought of as very self centered egos that believe they know more than the creators. It is an interesting concept of critic that I cannot disagree with. It is well worth the read.

Then Ebert talks about Todd McCarthy’s documentary, “Pierre Rissient, Man of Cinema.” Todd feels that Rissent, even though most do not even know his name, has had more influence on the world of good films in the last 60 years than anybody else. He says that Rissient felt that his position was to “defend,” by which he meant “support,” the films and directors he approves. He offers the following quote from Rissient, “It is not enough to like a film. One must like it for the right reasons.” [I suggest that you could substitute the word photograph for the word film and the statement would be equally valid.] Ebert goes on to state the following regarding Rissient’s statement:
“That sounds like critical snobbery, but is profoundly true. I don't think Pierre is referring only to his reasons, although knowing him well, I suppose he could be. I think he's saying you must know why you like a film, and he able to explain why, so that others can learn from an opinion not their own. It is not important to be "right" or "wrong." It is important to know why you hold an opinion, understand how it emerged from the universe of all your opinions, and help others to form their own opinions. There is no correct answer. There is simply the correct process. "An unexamined life is not worth living." [The last quote being one of my favorites and one that I take great comfort in. It is by Socrates. I only hope that you can extrapolate that a greatly examined life IS worth living, although it doesn’t exactly say that I am depending on it.]


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