What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael
MAD | Music/Art/Design
Whether you love her or hate her, there is no denying that film critic Pauline Kael, born 100 years ago, had a profound influence on cinema history, especially in the USA. Her energetic prose, emotional shoot-from-the-hip style, and quirky opinions (Brian De Palma over Michelangelo Antonioni?) were required reading in the 70s and 80s if you presumed to be a cinephile. She inspired acolytes - dubbed the "Paulettes" - and was even considered by some to be the greatest film critic ever (certainly not by Renata Adler, however, who famously authored one of the greatest takedowns in the English language with her NYRB’s demolishing of Kael’s writing).
Rob Garver’s marvellously put together, entertaining, and insightful look at Kael’s life features wonderful archival clips (some from Kael’s own home movies) and trenchant interviews with dozens of those affected by her work, including Paul Schrader, Camille Paglia, Quentin Tarantino, Greil Marcus, Gina James (Kael’s daughter), and Alec Baldwin. Wherever you fall on the spectrum - from Adlerian disgust to Paulette-like worship - Garver’s film is required viewing.