Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Retirement, Jonathan! Now, get busy.

A thoughtful interview (video) with Jonathan Rosenbaum on the occasion of his retirement. The Reader's ran a nice letter, a blogger named Trevor wrote a thoughtful post, and New City mentioned with a hint of excitement his plans for his web site. But personally I thought the real bow came from JR himself in the previous issue of The Reader when they ran a full feature he wrote on the film Charlie Bartlett as well as three "Critic's Choice" capsules (a set of tasks usually handled by 2 or 3 people) for a routine Hollywood picture (Vantage Point), a foreign art film (Still Life) and an experimental feature (Prisoners of War) - an uneven group of films, of course, but it was the music he made hitting all those notes at once that made me smile. That was the real tip of the hat to his fans, as far as I'm concerned.

He says he looks forward to not having to see so many films he isn't interested in (of course) but part of what makes reading film criticism enjoyable is having consistent access to an intelligent point of view. Getting to know a critic's personality and tastes and then watching the interplay between that sensibility and the material is like...appreciating jazz or something.

Meanwhile, Rosenbaum's work is invoked weekly in discussions around the world - for example, this week in a Spectator piece on Tex Avery. And he's long written for other publications - I have some catching up to do on his CinemaScope columns, for instance. In the interview he even speaks of writing fiction again, something I'd welcome seeing.

Also, Truth 24 Frames Per Second has been writing some good blog posts about JR's latest film lecture series, which I've attended only spottily so far (though I'm planning on attending next week). Looking forward to comparing notes.


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