Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pauline Kael

After one of those terrible lovers' quarrels that leave one in a state of incomprehensible despair, I came out of the theater, tears streaming, and overheard the petulant voice of a college girl complaining to her boyfriend, "Well I don't see what was so special about that movie."  I walked up the street, crying blindly, no longer certain whether my tears were for the tragedy on the screen, the hopelessness I felt for myself, or the alienation I felt from those who could not experience the radiance of Shoeshine.  For if people cannot feel Shoeshine, what can they feel? . . . 

Later I learned that the man with whom I had quarreled had gone the same night and had also emerged in tears.  Yet our tears for each other, and for Shoeshine did not bring us together.  Life, as Shoeshine demonstrates, is too complex for facile endings.

From her review of Shoeshine, a 1946 film directed by Italian neorealist director, Vittoria de Sica.

Kael was the film critic for the New Yorker from 1968 to 1991.  Her reviews often incorporated autobiographical elements -- she rebelled against the "term-paper pomposity" and "saphead objectivity" of other film critics. 

Pauline Kael died on this date in 2001.

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