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Watch 'Jonathan Rosenbaum, Present,' A Video Interview Celebrating the Critic's 70th Birthday

Criticwire By Matt Singer | Criticwire February 27, 2013 at 10:27AM

The author of "Placing Movies," "Essential Cinema," and many more on his life and career at age 70.
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"I like to think of myself as a writer, still."

"Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons."
"Essential Cinema: On the Necessity of Film Canons."

Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum was born on February 27, 1943, which means that today is his 70th birthday. To celebrate, Fandor's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky and Kevin B. Lee visited Rosenbaum at his home for a conversation, and turned the results into a film entitled "Jonathan Rosenbaum, Present."

The 12 minute short features the former head film critic for the Chicago Reader discussing his critical and literary influences, the cinematic themes that most interest him (and which, in turn, inform the themes of his own work), and about how the life of a critic (and the audience of a critic and the reception of criticism) continues to evolve.

Af Fandor, Vishnevetsky says he tried to make a film about Rosenbaum before, but the project never quite came together:

"The uncompleted earlier project had focused on Jonathan’s 'exterior' -- his opinions, his lectures. This time, I felt the focus should be on the interior -- his approach to work, his personality. I wanted to capture the way he talks and thinks: his speech rhythms, his body language, how he pauses and turns his head for emphasis, the way he slips from personal anecdote to critical analysis and back again."

Hoping to get as close as they could to the experience of "climbing inside of [Rosenbaum's] head," Vishnevetsky and Lee set and shot the film entirely in Rosenbaum's home and office. Here are the results:

Happy birthday to Jonathan Rosenbaum, and thanks to Vishnevetsky and Lee for marking this milestone.

Read more of "Video: 'Jonathan Rosenbaum, Present.'"

This article is related to: Video, Jonathan Rosenbaum, VidCritz


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