Thursday, August 11, 2011

Filmmakers Insulting Each Other

“Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung-fu film.” -- Werner Herzog

“Kubrick is a machine, a mutant, a Martian. He has no human feeling whatsoever. But it’s great when the machine films other machines, as in 2001.” -- Jacques Rivette

Artists occasionally do make good critics.

See also: Authors being harsh.

“Dostoevky’s lack of taste, his monotonous dealings with persons suffering with pre-Freudian complexes, the way he has of wallowing in the tragic misadventures of human dignity — all this is difficult to admire.” -- Vladimir Nabokov


Tulkinghorn said...

Oh, I don't know:

The humanists hate the abstract; the conservative hate the radical; and toward the end, it's just personal insults by Vincent Gallo, who seems to be channeling Michel Houllebecq.

My favorite of the bunch -- meaning only someone who seems to be coming from a sympathetic place -- is Jacques Rivette.

David Chute said...

The issue raised in our previous jovial aesthetic debate (which seems to have broken off) was that artists don't always make good critics, because they are tempted to use their own practice as a model.

Tulkinghorn said...

And this completely nails the point. Of course, even the rest of us who have no "practice" have opinions, which, if they are well-considered, express our essences as sharply.

Like Nabokov attacking Dostoyevski for tastelessness and wallowing in misadventure.

Or me gagging when reading about poor Nicholson Baker's latest fantasy novel -- a series of porn-related tropes called (wait for it) "The Book of Holes".

I mean, really.. Check this out from the Guardian:

Several other men and women... find themselves at the House of Holes. There, they avail themselves of an "ass-squeezer's licence", or have their own rear end temporarily enlarged, or video themselves masturbating and then watch other people masturbating to the videos, or call down to room service with demands along the lines of: "I want ball loads of hot manslurp landing on all my soft parts. This is an emergency top-level request for dick."

David Chute said...

"Of course, even the rest of us who have no "practice" have opinions, which, if they are well-considered, express our essences as sharply."

Making an end run back around to "there can be no arguing about taste"? Which we here have surely proved by our own example is not the case.

David Chute said...

An interesting point about the Mann essay, as I recall, is that while he most admired Tolstoy and Goethe, the Apollonian universal geniuses, he identified with Dostoyevsky and Schiller, the self-conscious restless strivers. And he imagines D & S feeling the same way about their opposites: Schiller writhing with resentment that he had to work so hard when poetry seemed to just flow out of Goethe.

T & G are is some way godlike, inhuman. We feel more kinship with the ones who have to struggle.

Tulkinghorn said...

Not at all.

Merely pointing out that by your stricture we are all bad critics, since we use our personalities as models.

I'm happy to argue taste, but I have no more hope of influencing anyone than I do of convincing them of the benefits of eating fried pig ears at the Hungry Ox in Little Tokyo.

Tulkinghorn said...

As for the benefits of struggle:


David Chute said...

Benefits, certainly. Even Schiller would concede that. But from what height of Apollonian loftiness are you sneering at the strivers?

David Chute said...

Or to put it another way: preferring not to strive is a far cry from not having to.

Tulkinghorn said...

No sneer.

Merely indicating my opinion that struggle as such is of little value. Succeeding early or without a great deal of pain -- however unlikely such a thing might be -- is not to be undervalued.

David Chute said...

And it's so unusual that the people who manage tend to be worshipped s prodigies. Mann isn't saying they shouldn't be. Just that at times...