Mittwoch, 17. November 2010

Films, critics and you

von Leon Graf
When my young love-life reached the point of aimlessness and more serious unanswered questions about life had arised, one answer was already there and definite: I never wanted to be a film critic!

Everytime when I scrolled through a newspaper or magazine and a critique appeared, I thought to myself: Why would anybody want to read this? The most common answer by relatives and friends was: "People read this because they want to know whether they should go see the movie or not."
Go! / Don´t go!
Nowadays there are many critiques like this in the newspapers and all over the internet: Three point five out of five stars, "Exceptional", "Recommended before or after candle-light dinner" and if you are honest the accompanying ten lines of text are rarely more revealing than a trailer or a poster. Therefore I don´t consider "Go / Don´t go!"-critiques as critiques but as almost useless information.

The more sophisticated answer to my question is "It´s a judgement of the movie by a film critic".

(I) judge the film
The modern trend in film critiques goes something like this: The film is the object. The critic who watched the film is not the subject. The critic is objective! How can he? Well, he is a film critic. He does not care if you are going to watch the film or not. He believes that after you read his critique you know everything about the film and especially it´s impact on our universe. He tells you what actors are "good" in the film, whether the director "succeeded" or not and so on. He makes you forget that he in fact is nothing more than a Pete with a pen and since we don´t know anything about Pete and his personal life, his critique is as worthless as a lamp without a bulb.

You might have noticed that the reason why you go to the movies is everything else but a film critic or his review. Most of the time it is a friend telling you that you "must see it!". And rarely more. And you go there!

Now here is the tiny but important difference to the "Go! / Don´t go!" critique. A friend told you to go. Your friend is a good guy, you know it. He is intelligent and shares a lot of interests with you. If he likes this film, chances are high that you will enjoy the evening together with another friend. We can therefore venture to deduct that people following the "Go! / Don´t go!" critique are rather poor souls with

a) no friends or
b) friends who all read the same magazine.

But this is not important and who cares for them anyway? There must be a reason why they have no friends, right?

You might probably also have noticed, that you learn more about a friend of yours when you tell him about a film which you think is great and he tells you he thinks its crap. The arising discussion about the film usually fades into a discussion about personal likes and dislikes, art and beauty in general and often even about philosophical views on life.

This is why I believe without doubt that the only real critique is a subjective one in which the critic reveals as much about himself as he reveals about the movie. This way he enables you to trust or doubt him before seeing the movie and to agree or disagree with him afterwards. And I don´t think it should be called critique or review. It should be called...

Subjective statement
Films are subjective statements. There is one film and many viewers. They see it and in them the film transforms into a new subjective statement. When somebody is talking about a film both of the following can happen: He reveals something about the film or the film reveals something about him. This happens in the same way in which the film reveals something about its director, as the film is the directors "critique or review" of a story or event that existed before his film (as a real event, a screenplay, an idea...). When we are talking about films we all transform into newly influenced different subjective statements about a film and sometimes, after a year or two we see the film again and notice - how much we have changed!

To that power of art in films I dedicate this blog. You will read my very subjective thoughts and impressions on newly released films and those that existed before I was born. You will read my rant and praise on others impressions. One thing I promise: It won´t be boring unless you are.

P.S.: I will try to post German translations simultanously (as German is my native language) and probably somebody will help me for my fellow Russians. Please feel free to correct all my grammar and word mistakes and send them to

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