Movie industry types are afraid of Manohla Dargis. I recently ran across a company exec who was crushed by her review of a new film from his company, while a PR exec at a different company said that she is always afraid when she hears that Manohla is reviewing one of her films. If you ask me, Dargis is an opinionated moviegoer who writes exceptionally well. She is a must-read critic. And even though it may drive some people crazy, I also appreciate when she ties her criticism to a broader examination of the business.
In a week when the heads of four different "classics divisions" complained to me at length about the current treachery surrounding the release of specialty movies, in a recent New York Times article she offered a statement that I firmly agree with. It may not provide answers, but its a truth that should inspire people to try things differently, or at least experiment a bit:
Cinemania is alive and well on the Internet, notably in blogs, where young movie nuts rant and rave and help cultivate one another’s cinematic interests. This is heartening, but film — especially the kind that distinguishes this year’s edition of the New York Film Festival — needs more than passion. It needs an audience, a paying public. If we don’t cultivate a new generation of movie lovers who get excited at the very idea of a Hou Hsiao-hsien film, we may as well hold a memorial service for foreign-language-film theatrical distribution right now.
You bring the flowers; I’ll bring the Scotch.