This blog takes its name from the column (and later two books of those columns) that the late Serge Daney wrote for Liberation in the early 1980s. Until his tragic death from AIDS, Daney was one of those rare film critics who could hold simultaneously in his mind the aesthetic, political and industrial importance of a film or filmmaker, and could draw on that complicated set of cognitive grids to put the film in its context. (Plus he dabbled in sportswriting, so he and I combine an unusual set of interests.)
Who am I? As a film critic, I have been published in numerous places -- the New York Times, Newsday and Jewish Week (NYC) most prominently. The work that will be most familiar to readers, however, isn't really signed by me at all; for six years I was senior contributing editor of the Blockbuster Entertainment Guide to Movies and Videos. In that capacity I reviewed (literally) several thousand films and, once the book was published and being annually updated, well over a hundred new films a year. I am a graduate of the Film Division of Columbia University's School of the Arts, where I studied under Andrew Sarris and was part of the burgeoning army of auteur critics in the early and mid 1970s. We were, I guess, sort of the third generation of American auteurists, following Sarris and his contemporaries, and then the men and women who wrote for him at the Village Voice and their contemporaries (the second generation). Finally, we came along like an occupying army. The main combat was over, the auteur theory was tacitly and sometimes overtly the ruling paradigm in film aesthetics in the popular press and, by and large, the academy. Of course, in the academy, auteurism was being supplanted by other theoretical developments -- structuralism and post-structuralism, Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, a wide range of Marxisms, feminisms and what-have-you.
By temperament I'm a syncretist. Over the years I've taken whatever seemed to me to work in the other theories and used it as a cognitive grid overlaying my basic auteurist perspective, but always leavened all of this stuff with -- I hope -- a solid grounding in the political and economic realities that had an impact on the film industry. Without an understanding of those, the rest is empty wool-gathering.
However, I recognize that for most movie-goers, these quasi-academic concerns are pretty remote from the actual experience of seeing a film. Put succinctly, you want to know what I like so that you can know who I am. Or where I'm coming from. (I'm coming from Northern Manhattan, near the GW Bridge, if you must know.) Without going into the long song-and-dance about canons and canon-building, here are some of my recent best-film lists, so you can make up your own mind whether it's worth your time to read any farther:

THE DOZEN BEST FILMS OF ALL TIME
(at 7:33 A.M., 1/17/06; could be different 15 minutes from now)
In alphabetical order, because when you get to this level of achievement, anything else is an insult to the artists:
An Autumn Afternoon (Yasujiro Ozu, 1962)
Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, 1966)
Duck Amuck (Chuck Jones, 1953)
French Cancan (Jean Renoir, 1955)
Lancelot du Lac (Robert Bresson, 1974)
Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone,1969)
Sans Soleil (Chris Marker, 1982)
The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
Sherlock, Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924)
Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
Shin heike monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1955)
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

SOME FILMS THAT CHANGED THE WAY I LOOK AT (AND LISTEN TO) FILM
Blue (Krzyzstof Kieslowski)
Lancelot du Lac (Bresson)
Nostalghia (Andre Tarkovsky)
Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone)
The Phantom of Liberty (Luis Bunuel)
Le Samourai (Jean-Pierre Melville)
Sans Soleil (Marker)
Tokyo Story (Ozu)
Virtually any film Jean-Luc Godard has made

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