Superstar - The Karen Carpenter Story

I want to pose some extremely basic quetions about the ways film criticism is done. One place to begin is to ask why American film criticism is devoted, almost without exception and certainly without ever reflecting on it as a special technique at all, to a “surface-depth” model of artistic expression. All of the scholarly commentators on Capra’s work (and on that of most other directors) assume, seemingly without question, that the function of criticism is to move from a relatively superficial and unimportant perceptual events (everything you actually hear and see on the screen) to a realm of profound, and invariably invisible or hidden, “deep” meanings. These commentators are critical Platonists. Their goal is to leave the phenomenal realm behind and move into a world of intellectual abstractions. As William James put it, they seek to dive behind the turbulent perceptual surfaces of experience and anchor themselves in unchanging conceptual depths.

Short #30: He Needs Me

July 30, 2011

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Hee-Yeon Kim

Hee-yeon Kim in Treeless Mountain

(2008, South Korea, So Yong Kim)

Sir Richard Bishop

Pome 18

July 29, 2011


Subject: site & brief question

Prof. Carney,

I like the site and your books, etc. But I’ll make this brief. Could you give me a list of films *within* the mainstream that you think have some value?

Before you start typing a “Lists are useless” sentence, I’ll explain why:

It seems to me that part of cinema’s advantage over other arts is its populism. But it’s also its downfall that many films, a number of the ones you champion, are very difficult to find. I’ve only been able to find the slightest number of them.

You champion Frank Capra as a “studio indie.” Surely he is not the only valuable studio filmmaker?

I doubt that you’d like Howard Hawks or people like that, but what about Samuel Fuller? Or Robert Wise? Or Robert Rossen?
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1965, USA, Kenneth Anger

Barbara Stanwyck Meet John Doe

Barbara Stanwyck in Meet John Doe

(1941, USA, Frank Capra)

J Mascis 1

nowhere to collapse the lung

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