Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sad News

For many years beginning some time in the mid-seventies, I was a regular reader of the Village Voice, largely because of the weekly movie reviews they included by Andrew Sarris.  There were also a number of good music writers, like Robert Christgau and Lester Bangs, as well as Geoffrey Stokes on media and Nat Hentoff on human rights, but the main draw for me was Sarris.  It was clear in his writing that he was a fan first, and a critic second (not that he ever shortchanged the reader on thoughtful analysis-- it's just that you had a sense that what made him passionate about movies in the first place was the visceral kick they provided, with the intellectual stuff a savory bonus).  When I discovered his indispensable book The American Cinema, it became my film bible and I still keep it within reach of my favorite TV-watching chair so that I can reread his comments on the director of every good (or even not-so-good) old movie I catch on Turner Classics.  Eventually Sarris moved on the the New York Observer, where I read his columns on-line, and up until a year or so ago, he was still contributing pieces to Film Comment. Unfortunately, I just saw that he passed away today, so his by-line won't be appearing anywhere anymore (you can read the NY Times obituary here).  Maybe, if we're lucky, a nice anthology of his work (long overdue) will appear in the near future. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

why don't YOU edit such an anthology?