Details. article: Circles and Squares; author(s): Pauline Kael; journal: Film Quarterly (01/Apr/); issue: volume 16, issue 3, pages ; DOI. Circles and Squares. Pauline Kael. FILM QUART, Vol. 16 No. 3, Spring, ; ( pp. ) DOI: / Pauline Kael. Find this author on Google. A rejection of Sarris’ auteur theory Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free.
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The art of the critic is to transmit his knowledge of and enthusiasm for art to others.
And it is very difficult to explain to such people that criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply, just because you must use everything you are and everything you know that is relevant, and that film criticism is particularly exciting just because of the multiplicity of elements in film art.
This is obvious in listening to music, seeing plays, reading novels, watching actors; we take it for granted that this is how we perceive the development or the decline of circlds artist.
These critics work embarrassingly hard trying to give some semblance of intellectual respectability to a preoccupation with mindless, repetitious commercial products.
A Couple of Squared Circles, Sarris and Kael – Part II
The greatness of critics like Bazin in France and Agee in America may have something to do with their using their full range of intelligence and intuition, rather than relying on formulas. Oct Nov Dec Sarris has noticed that in High Sierra not a very good movie Raoul Walsh repeated an uninteresting and obvious device that he had earlier used in a worse movie. And he is expendable if categories replace experience; a critic with a single theory is like a gardener who uses a lawn mower on everything that grows.
Kael is asserting that the auteur theory venerates directors who repeat uninteresting and obvious devices. Those, like Sarris, who ask for objective standards seem to want a theory of cirdles which makes the critic unnecessary.
Often the works in which we are most aware of the personality of the director are his worst films – when he falls back on the devices he has already done to death. Film aesthetics as a distinct, specialized field is a bad joke. Criticism pahline an art, not a science, and a critic who follows rules will ans in one of his most important functions: Kael goes on to add:.
What Kael seems to be asking is whether this is really a good criterion for the critique of film. Kael, in characteristically sardonic and bitchy style, explains that:.
Keeping My Brain Alive: Circles and Squares (excerpts)
Notify me of new comments via email. But how does this distinguishable personality function as a criterion for judging the works? An artist who is not a good technician can indeed create new standards, because standards of technical competence are based on comparisons with work already done.
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Really like the post, this has paullne a lot of help with my dissertation thank you. And for some inexplicable reason, Sarris concludes that he would not have had this joy of discovery without the auteur theory. One may be able to more distinctly distinguish the gaudy, accidental, clumsy hand of a second-rate director than the light, delicate hand of a first-rate director but it does not, or should not, indicate the better director between the two. He is a good critic if he helps people understand more about the work than they could see for themselves; he is a great critic, if by his understanding and feeling for the work, by his passion, he can excite people so that they want to experience more of the art that is there, waiting to be seized.
Post was not sent – check your email addresses! Kael goes on to add: The smell of a skunk is more distinguishable than the perfume of a rose; does that make it better? You are commenting using your Facebook account. In every art form, critics traditionally notice and point out the way the artists borrow from themselves as well as from others and how the same device, techniques, and themes reappear in their work.
It takes extraordinary intelligence and discrimination and taste to use any theory in the arts, and that without those qualitites, a theory becomes a rigid formula which is indeed what is happening among auteur critics.
In essence Kael is arguing that the distinguishable personality of a director is a poor choice for criterion of judgement.
Film Quarterly () – Circles and Squares – The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki
Kael sums up her criticism by wondering why the auteur theory prefers certain commerical films — a saving grace of the auteur theory some will say. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Lauline your comment here Jan Feb Mar Apr.
As Kael notes artists have always re-used older material. According to Kael if a director does not unify his style, the form, with the content of the script, then the squaers does not produce good art.
Oxford University Press,pp. To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: The smell of a skunk is more distinguishable than the perfume of a rose; does that make it better?.
This is not so far from the way the auteur critics work, either.