A Call to Arms for Filmmakers and Viewers Alike
A Feature Review of
Paperback: Polity Press 2013
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Reviewed by S. Benjamin Holsteen
François Truffaut, one of the preeminent film critics of the French New Wave, once said, “[There is a] famous French advertising slogan that says, ‘When you love life, you go to the movies,’ it’s false! It’s exactly the opposite: when you don’t love life, or when life doesn’t give you satisfaction, you go to the movies.” To my mind, this statement can be read in two ways. The first approach is to read it as condemnation, casting cinema as little more than simple escapism. As I sit down to write this, summer is on the wane, bringing to a close yet another season of would-be Blockbusters; some commercial hits, many more misses, and seemingly very few concerned with much more than filling seats at the local multiplex. While there are always exceptions, one could be forgiven for looking at the broad cinematic output of the last few months (years? longer?) and feeling that this sort of respite-from-reality, entertainment-for-entertainment’s-sake approach is the highest goal of a great many, if not most, of the filmmakers working in Hollywood today.