Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Dissolve's Keith Phipps Will Be Uproxx's Film/TV Editor The Dissolve's Keith Phipps Will Be Uproxx's Film/TV Editor Criticwire Survey: The Worst Movie and TV Accents Ever Criticwire Survey: The Worst Movie and TV Accents Ever What Quentin Tarantino Gets Wrong About TV Critics What Quentin Tarantino Gets Wrong About TV Critics 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' Is Officially Part of the English Language Now 'Manic Pixie Dream Girl' Is Officially Part of the English Language Now How 'Mr. Robot' Hacks TV's Empathy Machine How 'Mr. Robot' Hacks TV's Empathy Machine Joe Hill: Review Aggregrators Like Rotten Tomatoes Provide 'Confusion, Not Clarity' Joe Hill: Review Aggregrators Like Rotten Tomatoes Provide 'Confusion, Not Clarity' Noah Baumbach's Characters Are Still Coming of Age 20 Years Later Noah Baumbach's Characters Are Still Coming of Age 20 Years Later The 'Hannibal Finale' and the Dangers of Post-Mortem Interviews The 'Hannibal Finale' and the Dangers of Post-Mortem Interviews British Film Critic Was a Soviet Spy British Film Critic Was a Soviet Spy Real Life Hasn't Punished Jordan Belfort. Why Should 'The Wolf of Wall Street'? Real Life Hasn't Punished Jordan Belfort. Why Should 'The Wolf of Wall Street'? 'Fear the Walking Dead' Starts Slow, and Interest Is Already Waning 'Fear the Walking Dead' Starts Slow, and Interest Is Already Waning Daily Reads: Sexism Isn't Just a 'Straight Outta Compton' Problem, How Samuel L. Jackson Lost 'Reservoir Dogs,' and More Daily Reads: Sexism Isn't Just a 'Straight Outta Compton' Problem, How Samuel L. Jackson Lost 'Reservoir Dogs,' and More Daily Reads: Why Yale's Library Is Preserving VHS, Who Wins When a Brown Actor Plays a White Character, and More Daily Reads: Why Yale's Library Is Preserving VHS, Who Wins When a Brown Actor Plays a White Character, and More Daily Reads: What Colin Trevorrow Got Right About Female Directors, the Art of Cynical Sincerity in 'BoJack Horseman' and 'Rick and Morty,' and More Daily Reads: What Colin Trevorrow Got Right About Female Directors, the Art of Cynical Sincerity in 'BoJack Horseman' and 'Rick and Morty,' and More Daily Reads: 'Mistress America' and the Art of Making a Living as an Artist, How Summer TV Surprised Us, and More Daily Reads: 'Mistress America' and the Art of Making a Living as an Artist, How Summer TV Surprised Us, and More Criticwire Classic of the Week: Nicholas Ray's 'They Live By Night' Criticwire Classic of the Week: Nicholas Ray's 'They Live By Night' 'Scream' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street's' Wes Craven Dead at 76 'Scream' and 'Nightmare on Elm Street's' Wes Craven Dead at 76 Daily Reads: The Evolution of TV Criticism, "Queen of Earth" Is the Scariest Movie of the Summer, and More Daily Reads: The Evolution of TV Criticism, "Queen of Earth" Is the Scariest Movie of the Summer, and More 'The Gift': A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending 'The Gift': A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending Daily Reads: How 'Peak TV' Is Undermining Quality Control, Ranking Quentin Tarantino's Movie, and More Daily Reads: How 'Peak TV' Is Undermining Quality Control, Ranking Quentin Tarantino's Movie, and More

From the Wire: Pinkerton's Notes on Vulgar Auteurism

Criticwire By Ben Kenigsberg | Criticwire June 7, 2013 at 5:23PM

From the Wire: Pinkerton's Notes on Vulgar Auteurism
0

"Deja Vu."
"Deja Vu."
Even with all the crossfire among contemporary film writers, it's unusual to find an argument over as seemingly genteel an issue as nomenclature. But blogging at SundanceNow, Nick Pinkerton raises an objection to the phrase "vulgar auteurism," which may or may not have originated with Cinema Scope's Andrew Tracy and which has recently developed popularity in the Twitterverse.

Pinkerton's initial target is Calum Marsh, who wrote a defense of the term for the Village Voice chain (a company with which Pinkerton memorably parted ways in February). Marsh's basic point is that the films of Justin Lin ("Fast & Furious 6") should be watched and appreciated with the same critical acumen accorded to Leos Carax. Pinkerton agrees with that idea, but says wait a sec: "No persuasive argument has yet been made for why the phrase [vulgar] should be vitally necessary to modify old, fuddy-duddy Auteurism."

Indeed, if Andrew Sarris's original pantheon could include Hitchcock and Hawks, it's difficult to say why the current equivalent shouldn't encompass genre filmmakers -- however different genre filmmaking may look today. Pinkerton goes on to discuss how Sarris himself used the term "vulgar," the quality of Hollywood product at the time auteurism was being defined, and conclaves of so-called vulgar auteurists. (For championing Tony Scott, Cinema Scope comes in for particular scorn -- though as Pinkerton notes, Mark Peranson and Christoph Huber's original Scott appraisal said the director's work requires "old-school auteurist appreciation.")

Ironically, this semantic tug-of-war has a parallel in the original debate over auteurism in America. Sarris, in "Notes on the Auteur Theory," spoke of auteurism's ability to reveal meaning in a film: "Sometimes, a great deal of corn must be husked to yield a few kernels of internal meaning."

In her "Circles and Squares" response, Pauline Kael took issue with the extra word, asking, "Is 'internal meaning' any different from 'meaning?'"

Read more of "Bombast #96."

This article is related to: Nick Pinkerton, vulgar auteurism


E-Mail Updates