Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Film Audio:
The Pauline Factor, '68

How much provocation can one speaker pack into just 54 minutes? In this recording of a talk given at UC Berkeley on April 26, 1968, the then-newly-hired film critic for The New Yorker, Pauline Kael, goes a great distance toward answering that question as she brutalizes Underground cinema, Arthur Penn, and the institutional imperatives of mass-market film criticism.

And those are but three of the targets upon which she opens fire.

It's a cheap and perhaps underhanded method of generating content for this blog, but I've little doubt even the cinephile contingent will find something in this recording to chew over (if not here, then elsewhere). For this is, without question, the single most compelling extemporaneous presentation on the subject of film I've ever heard.

9 comments:

diego cumplido said...

you're a cool guy, tom. I'll start visiting this blog too.

Tom Sutpen said...

Mille grazie, Diego.

T. Holly said...

Yeah, like wow, I'm not even going to try to touch it. So where'd you get it, and is there more? The recording quality, BTW, is pristine. Did I say "wow" yet?

T. Holly said...

And I mean that in the best way. I'm somewhat familiar with her thoughts, but hearing her voice is serendipitous.

Tom Sutpen said...

Someone sent me that recording about 6-8 months ago, and I just hadn't got 'round to posting it. It comes, I believe, from the Pacifica Radio archives (Kael was at one time a fixture on Pacifica's flagship station, KPFA). I posted a few more Kael recordings on the other blog. Unfortunately, with the lone exception of a very poor tape featuring Kael in conversation with Jean-Luc Godard, I don't have any other recordings of her.

Glad you liked this one, however.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Tom, what would I do without you? This is wonderful stuff. Thank you so much for supplying me with yet another recording of my favorite critic years after I'd seemingly memorized all her books!

neonnoir said...

Thanks greatly for sharing this file. I've listened to the other ones you'd uploaded a while ago and they are a real treat.

It's always a pleasure to hear her speak. One thing about this that I find interesting and perhaps I've read it before but just glossed over it, is that she mentions not wanting to be negative about a movie that she feels needs a push. While I understand her reasoning, that sort of disappointed me -- perhaps I'm being naive but when I read a Kael review, I've always had the impression that it was the lady giving her all to the subject and not the propoganda that she mentions. Now I start to wonder what she held back and those movies that she loved that to me are questionable (like The Fury) -- the overall review now, with hindsight, would be more pleasing if she mentioned the bad as well as the good. Bonnie and Clyde, for instance, I'd like to have read about her thoughts on Dunaway, Parsons and Pollard. I understand her reasoning, but it leaves me with the feeling of incompletion but I suppose she was only talking about a very slim minority of films.

Lloydville said...

Great stuff!

sexy said...
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