Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Rebirth of MOVIE

Great news for film criticism: The legendary British magazine Movie has been reborn -- online. The first issue of Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism is now available in its entirety at the University of Warwick website. The issue kicks off with a wonderful tribute by V.F. Perkins to one of the prime movers behind the original Movie, Ian Cameron, who died a few months ago.

The origins of Movie, Perkins writes, can be traced back to Oxford in the late 1950s, to film society program notes penned by Cameron. This led to his writing and editing film criticism in the student magazine Oxford Opinion. Cameron recruited others to write for the film section, and they developed a collective agenda that was

strongly polemical, taking one of its cues from the delightfully disdainful way in which month by month Cahiers received the output of the British film industry. (The respect accorded in Britain to The Bridge on the River Kwai was almost as galling to us the rejection of Vertigo.) Our wrath found a main target in the British Film Institute and its publications, Sight and Sound and Monthly Film Bulletin.

Using their cultural visibility as an Oxbridge publication, they attacked British film writing because it was

predictable in its judgments and predictable in putting judgments ahead of appreciation. It offered next to nothing that counted as analysis, where a verdict and an interpretation come with support from argument. The absence of an evidenced criticism was a particular affront to Ian's scientific sensibility.

It is this ethos of patient close analysis, this carefully considered appreciation of films grounded in descriptive detail that is the signal contribution of the Movie legacy to film criticism. The new Movie's continuity with its former self is readily seen in the way this ethos marks every piece in the new issue. For example, with the help of detailed attention to moments and texture, James MacDowell's essay develops the notion of a "quirky sensibility" found in many recent American movies. Kate Leadbetter's article contrasts the lead female characters of three Fassbinder films (The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss, Lola) in terms of physicality (movement and gesture) of the performances -- again with an intent focus on the moment-to-moment execution of those performances, aided by framegrabs. Lucy Fife Donaldson picks up the thread of a Movie round-table discussion from a 30-year-old issue, and weaves it into an argument about the way form and style function in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The rest of the issue features similarly substantive and satisfying film criticism. I eagerly await the issues to come.

* * *

I'd like to take this opportunity to consider a larger topic: the history and impact of British film criticism. Narratives of film criticism have all too often privileged the French (the storied Cahiers du Cinema) or the Americans (the Sarris-Kael debates; the rediscovery and celebration of Manny Farber) but no such attention, adulation or myth-making has been visited upon the British. (I wonder why.) If, in the '60s, Sight & Sound and Movie represented two separate and distinct strands of British film criticism, it is the latter, I think, that has stood the test of time, remained the fresher, the more useful and substantive. This is particularly unusual given that a sizable portion of Movie criticism of the '60s focused on films from an earlier (studio) era of Hollywood. I suspect it's because Movie's critical principles, irrespective of writer or film, always dictated a detailed critical attention, an attempt to take hold of and fully account for form and style, connecting them to interpretation. The need for these principles is felt every bit as urgently in film criticism today as it was 50 years ago. (The key recent book-length work which demonstrates these principles at work, and features many Movie and Movie-influenced writers, is "Style and Meaning: Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film" (2005) edited by John Gibbs and Douglas Pye. It is a model work of close-analysis film criticism and interpretation.)

The influence and impact of Movie's early polemics can be seen even as recently as this week -- in Sight & Sound editor Nick James' online-only piece. He points to the end of the Miramax era, the drying up of support and funding for prestige, middlebrow, "quality" films (by "quality" he means the visibility of money and "good taste" on the screen). Films like Shakespeare in Love and The English Patient, which marked the apex of the Miramax era, were nothing more than recent equivalents of prestige fare like The Bridge on the River Kwai, championed by Sight & Sound in the 50s. In James' editorial, he positions the magazine against such a quality, middlebrow cinema and for a more personal and "poorer" cinema less worried about respectability. His call echoes that of V.F. Perkins in the early '60s in his essay on British cinema. (Please see this earlier post on Movie and British cinema.)

There is another aspect of the new Movie that interests me: the passage of time since its founding, and the institutionalization of film studies in the interim. In the early days of Movie, film studies didn't exist as a discipline, but in the '70s, many of its writers, like Robin Wood and V.F. Perkins, had begun working, part-time or full-time, in academe. However, in that post-'68 heyday of "Screen Theory," their work found itself in the margins of the discipline. And so, I wonder: To what extent has the new Movie been influenced by developments in the film studies discipline since? And in what ways is it providing an alternative, a corrective, to the predominant streams and methods of scholarship in film/media studies today?

Your thoughts on Movie old and new, British film criticism, and any related subjects? I'd love to hear them.

pic: Ian Cameron, 1937-2010, a founder of Movie. The Guardian obituary is by Charles Barr.


Anonymous Corey Creekmur said...

I certainly join you in welcoming the return of MOVIE, or in fact any new, serious film journal in an era that promotes lighter fare, focused upon (and largely in unthinking support of) the entertainment industry rather than what I'll still call the art of film. I wish them well. (For a long time, before it was at last reprinted, I cherished my copy of MOVIE 31/32 because of Andrew Britton's almost issue-length essay "Blissing Out," still to me one of the greatest critical performances ever produced.)

But I do have a question about a premise here, Girish: in noting the general lack of attention to British film criticism (or at least its diminished role in more legendary accounts), you quickly imply that SCREEN is not a central part of that story. Why not? Are you relying upon a distinction -- perhaps valid, but worth questioning -- between criticism and theory? When I was a film studies graduate student in the late 80s, the debates around and within SCREEN, associated with names like Buscombe, Heath, Mulvey, McCabe, Rose, and Brewster (among others) seemed pretty legendary to me and my peers (as would the Birmingham cultural studies folks soon thereafter)! And in its way the debates between SCREEN and MOVIE felt as significant -- and frankly pitched at a higher intellectual level -- than the Kael vs. Sarris battles on the home front. While a lot was of course going on in France at that time (with SCREEN the main English language conduit for much of this work, along with CAMERA OBSCURA), the 70s in Britain felt like a high point in film studies from my humbled American perspective at the time. The BFI publications of that era were fascinating in part because they derived from what seemed to have been crucial festival screenings and "weekends" devoted to Raoul Walsh, Dorothy Arzner, Sirk, Doris Day ... (And this era shouldn't be reduced to MOVIE close readings vs. SCREEN high theory: the 1978 Brighton conference on early cinema announced a seismic shift of a lot of scholars away from certain kinds of interpretation and towards the rigorous historical study of early film that soon redefined the whole discipline.) So, a clarification, please: do you want to keep SCREEN -- defined fairly or not as a source of film theory -- apart from the story of British film criticism? By asking, you can guess that I have some doubts about doing so, but I can also see some reasons to preserve the distinction as well.

August 07, 2010 4:45 PM  
Blogger girish said...

A wonderful point, Corey! Thank you for making it. You're right, of course: I'm not sure it makes sense to cleave "theory" and "criticism" so neatly off from each other and simply lump SCREEN in with the former. I guess I didn't include SCREEN in my comments above because I was thinking of narratives of a certain public and popular criticism (rather than scholarly criticism) and the players who achieved a certain prominence therein. But, of course, you're right: it doesn't make sense to restrict our discussion to popular criticism alone. Any such discussion must include SCREEN.

Another curious phenomenon: I wonder if the high profile and visibility of American film critics like Kael, Sarris, Farber, etc. also has to do with their being individuals, thus lending themselves more easily to the creation of colorful mythic narratives. Both MOVIE and SCREEN were collectives (Perkins reveals in his piece that the British cinema essay I assumed he authored was partly written by Robin Wood), and even if some members of these collectives (Wood, Perkins, Mulvey, Wollen) achieved a certain modicum of public exposure and recognition, it was the collective unit that the actual critical/theoretical work was most strongly associated with. I wonder if the very fact of this collectivity made it a harder sell for the creation of a "narrative" of film criticism that might lodge in the public's consciousness. Thus diminishing the chances that these critics/scholars would be as widely known as Sarris, Kael, etc.

To apply this to France: CAHIERS was a collective, yes, but its critics broke out of this collective when they became filmmaker/auteurs (the 'politique des auteurs' being an idea that itself valorized individualism). This gained them widespread attention and exposure, making it easy for narratives to be 'written' about them and disseminated to the public. Contrast this with POSITIF, which had many fewer critics who made this transition to filmmaking, with the result that we often speak of POSITIF in monolithic, collective terms, rarely singling out and citing individuals (except those of us like Adrian who are deeply knowledgeable about the magazine).

I guess I'm wondering and reflecting in a general way here about the historiography of film criticism and the narratives we (both the culture at large and the subculture of 'cinema people') write and disseminate about it.

August 07, 2010 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention the failed festival panel attempts in the 1970s to forge a connection between SCREEN and S&S at the oldest film festival (continuously running that is) EIFF, which I might add neither party wanted at the time and probably are still reticent to aspire to a similar synergy even today.
It’s also worthy of note that the lines are very much blurred between what one would call scholarly criticism and otherwise… much of the popularity of CAHIERS led to the success of SCREEN manifestos and format, even if the latter had its antecedents as a mere academic pamphlet in the early 50s, and the former its roots in the high-brow, but nevertheless inescapably commercial echelons of value – Godard did really make films to impress the ladies.
The point being, as one would have it, ‘the ivory and the other’ lines are pencil drawn, but often it’s difficult to see where one ends and the other begins. This is as it should be if we want effective criticism.

August 07, 2010 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Corey Creekmur said...

And now for something completely different (to quote another important British collective) ... Way back when there were only a few film critics taken seriously by intellectuals -- most notably James Agee in the United States -- there were at least two British names who now seem barely invoked as film critics. Graham Greene was of course widely read, in part because his fame as a novelist made people curious to see what his take on the lowly art of film might be. My sense is that some version of his film criticism has been in print for decades. Just about a year ago, in a piece for Moving Image Source, Michael Atkinson called Greene "for a short while the best film critic writing in English." I'm not sure anyone really believes that -- perhaps it's fair to say he was one of the greatest writers who also wrote film criticism. Still, a key figure in British film criticism.

But the other name worth invoking seems to me to have never been much known outside of Britain: Dilys Powell. In some ways she could be seen as a precursor of Pauline Kael, at least for her frequent preference for popular films rather than more respectable, literary movies. A number of books collecting her film criticism have been published over the years, but none, to my knowledge, ever in the United States.

So, two British film critics of note who never seem to have been linked to any school of thought, theoretical method, or institutional context (other than the papers they wrote for).

August 07, 2010 10:43 PM  
Blogger Just Another Film Buff said...

This is really excellent news. I've only read Perkins and Wood, terrific writers both.

August 09, 2010 8:33 AM  
Blogger Gareth said...

Corey, I'm glad you mentioned Dilys Powell. She was one of the first critics I became aware of as I began to watch films and read about them (it helped that she was writing a column in one of the Sunday newspapers my parents bought), and her Sunday capsule reviews pointed me in the direction of many a treasure. Those capsules could be surprisingly rich, too, as in the famous case when she apologized to Michael Powell for her 1960 dismissal of Peeping Tom (acknowledging the fact that her apology came rather too late for the deceased director).

At one point, I rather naively wrote to her asking if she knew where I could find more information about one of the films she had written about. Of course, at the time, I didn't know I was being naive, and in any case, she wrote back to me with a lovely handwritten letter and a copy of a press pack from years earlier.

I think the Kael analogy is apt, except in so far as Powell's personality was rather different! I feel as though Powell has fallen into surprising oblivion in the UK, too, except as the name of an award, whereas Kael's name remains on many lips (none of the collections of Powell's reviews are in print in the UK).

August 09, 2010 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Corey Creekmur said...

Gareth, thanks for the lovely Powell story! I discovered her by accident: on a trip to London, I came across THE DILYS POWELL FILM READER: I had never heard of her but thought I should take a look. Among other things, I found that she was reviewing Westerns with great enthusiasm at a time when it was taken for granted that they didn't appeal to women (or intellectuals). But I thought I was just discovering a critic little known in the United States: I'm sorry to hear she's neglected in the UK as well these days. By the way, for those interested the famous "apology" to Michael Powell Garteth mentions can be found here:

August 10, 2010 8:43 AM  
Anonymous enrique said...

"nothing more than recent equivalents of prestige fare like The Bridge on the River Kwai, championed by Sight & Sound in the 50s."

S&S didn't champion 'Kwai' so far as I can tell -- unless my search function is bust it didn't even cover it. Naturally enough, Movie wanted to carve out a space for itself, and two ways were dismissing anything with the faintest whiff of a message, and anything British.

Another point to raise is that film studies *did* just about exist when Movie launched in 1962, and at least three of its contributors had studied film at postgraduate level. Answers on a postcard.

August 10, 2010 12:16 PM  
Anonymous enrique said...

"Another curious phenomenon: I wonder if the high profile and visibility of American film critics like Kael, Sarris, Farber, etc. also has to do with their being individuals,"

Think this must be part of it, in combination with Kael and Sarris, at least, getting prominent weekly gigs later on. (Farber had been around way before all this.) As Paul Brunick says in the current Film Comment, the original readers of the Kael-Sarris debate in 1963 would have numbered pretty few.

None of the Movie critics achieved the same level of international prominence as Pauline Kael, but Robin Wood was about as high-profile as film critics get without being household names.

(It should be remembered that the Movie writers were also involved in the debate in Film Quarterly that is now called the 'Kael-Sarris debate', and that two Movie writers, Charles Barr and Ian Cameron, wrote major essays for FQ around that time (on CinemaScope and Antonioni respectively).)

August 10, 2010 1:03 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Mr. A. C-Rit, unfortunately I only know the anthologized SCREEN essays, and need to go back and systematically read the individual issues from that fertile period. My college library doesn't have electronic access to them, so I'll have to individually I.L.L. them.

Srikanth, not sure if you know Adrian's essay "That Summer Feeling" from UNDERCURRENT a few years back. Your comment made me think of it; I think you'd enjoy it.

Corey and Gareth, I've only heard of Dilys Powell, never read her writings. The only film book I can seem to find of hers at the local libraries is FILMS SINCE 1939. I'd like to check out her writings.

Speaking of British film critics who should be much better known, I'm a big fan of critic/semiotician/feminist Judith Williamson, author of DEADLINE AT DAWN (a collection of her reviews of 1980s films), DECODING ADVERTISEMENTS (her published PhD thesis) and CONSUMING PASSIONS. There's an interesting and detailed piece at the Bright Lights journal by Lesley Chow from earlier this year that compares her writing to James Wolcott's.

Enrique, I'd forgotten all about that FQ intersection between MOVIE and the Sarris-Kael debates! Thanks for the reminder. Re: Kwai, Perkins brings up S&S's promotion of it (and pan of VERTIGO) in his piece; that's where I got it from.

Speaking of British film critics, a question for all: What books/periods of David Thomson's uneven output do you value/recommend? The new edition of THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY received some justifiably scathing reviews but I like many of the write-ups that are holdovers from earlier editions (e.g. his entries on Hawks and Rivette, to name two). He's so prolific that I've not read most of his books.

August 10, 2010 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Dave Johnson said...

While I can’t speak to your most recent question, Girish, forgive me if I go back to the initial exchange between Corey and you on film studies historiography and recommend the collection _Inventing Film Studies_ (ed. Lee Grieveson and Haidee Wasson), which I discovered through Dudley Andrew’s recent, stimulating _What Cinema Is!_. The collection has a conversation between Peter Wollen and Laura Mulvey called “From Cinephilia to Film Studies,” where they discuss the BFI and Paddy Whannel (a figure I didn’t know prior to reading the essay); Philip Rosen’s “_Screen_ and 1970s Film Theory”; and Mark Betz’s “Little Books,” which traces “the prominent role that the British Film Institute (BFI) has played in terms of not only the publication of little books but also the shaping and development of the discipline, both in Britain and America” (321).

August 11, 2010 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Corey Creekmur said...

Let me second Dave's recommendation of INVENTING FILM STUDIES, and especially the wonderful essay by Betz. This loops us back in this thread to a crucial early series like the (in the US) Praeger Film Library (some of the first on figures like Fuller, Penn, Chabrol, etc.) which were (each book opened by announcing) ... "edited and designed by Ian Cameron." Most are sadly long out of print.

August 11, 2010 10:45 AM  
Blogger Gareth said...

Girish, I think of Powell as something of a "gateway critic" for me, that is, someone who first made me aware of what it is a critic might do, and who opened the door to other things. I still get a great deal of pleasure out of re-reading her pieces, so I'm curious as to how you might react reading her fresh.

Another British critic - an academic, not a regular critic - I find valuable is the late Jill Forbes, and particularly her book The Cinema in France after the New Wave. There's an awful lot to argue with in the book - her rather thinly-justified decisions to exclude certain filmmakers, for instance - but there wasn't wasn't a whole lot available in English in 1992 on filmmakers like Eustache, Moullet, Garrel and even Blier and for that it's an extremely valuable reference for me. I like, too, that she gives attention to some developments - like the influence of 1970s café-théâtre - that aren't of much interest to many academics.

August 11, 2010 10:45 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Dave and Corey, I picked up INVENTING FILM STUDIES a few months ago and really enjoyed the Mulvey/Wollen and Betz pieces. (Spurred by Wollen, I also picked up the Paddy Whannel book he speaks of so highly.) I've been meaning to do a post on Mark Betz's article on "little books". I'm a big fan of (and collector of) these books. BTW, Betz's webpage at King's College includes [scroll all the way down] a 22-page Word document file with a complete appendix-list of "little books". Makes for fun reading!

Gareth, I love that Jill Forbes book. (I was surprised to read on Jonathan Rosenbaum's blog that she's no longer alive.) She -- and the book -- are far too little-known in film critic circles!

August 11, 2010 11:02 AM  
Blogger Gareth said...

Girish, I think she died in 2001 or so, in her mid-50s; a real shame. I haven't read her BFI monograph on Les Enfants du paradis and really should.

My parents gave me her earlier book as an especially inspired birthday gift around the time it was published!

August 11, 2010 11:09 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Gareth. I've long been looking for my own copy (it's been OOP for a long time now) and your comment reminded me to order a used copy just now.

August 11, 2010 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Gareth is absolutely right about Jill Forbes' book on the French New Wave, which I too have and cherish. There wasn't much beyond a few scraps on Garrel (for example) in English in the early '90s - and, despite that fact that many more now know his name (due to Internet cinephilia, and to the relative success of REGULAR LOVERS), there isn't a whole lot more now ! The café theatre connection Gareth mentions is particularly important - it made me think at the time how little true 'networking' of cinema and theatre or theatre history (especially less classical and frequently short-lived forms of theatre) really goes on. We all know, for example, that Rivette was very influenced by theatre and we talk about this in grand, abstract terms, but few have explored specific influences on him like Marc O's troupe (Bulle Ogier told me she spent the first 7 years of her acting life in that group).

August 11, 2010 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Corey Creekmur said...

I never met Jill Forbes but have enjoyed her work, and am terribly sorry to learn that she has passed away. I have also enjoyed Judith Williamson's work in the past: in my grad student days her DECODING ADVERTISEMENTS was required reading. Girish, I want to encourage you to do something on those "small books." They really represent a distinct cultural moment. I have quite a few from the various series -- most acquired in used book stores, where they were once easily found. But I recall that when I was a kid getting interested in film that you could find them in standard book stores. I read and re-read Charles Barr's book on Laurel and Hardy in the Praeger series, since the films could be seen on television back then. I remember being amazed that someone could discuss them as more than just fun comedies. Books in the Studio One series (especially Roud on Godard) from the same period had an equal impact: the first time I'd ever heard of Melville or Straub was due to books on them in that series. Now it's impossible to imagine a big chain bookstore stocking small, smartly designed books on Sirk, Rossellini, Fuller, Keaton, Vigo, or Bresson, but it was once a common practice (when the films were much harder to see than to read about). Again, Cameron had a lot to do with that...

August 11, 2010 6:05 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Rosenbaum said...

Thanks for all your comments about Jill Forbes, a treasured friend, which has just inspired me to post some brief memories about her on my site (

August 11, 2010 11:57 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hello, everyone ~ Here's a clickable link to Jonathan's memorial post to Jill Forbes.

Adrian and Gareth, you've got me really intrigued: I shall hunt down the "café theatre" sections in Forbes' book as soon as I receive my used copy this week!

Corey, those are astute points about that "distinct cultural moment" of "little books" (I may steal them for my post!). Paradoxically, as you point out, the books were widely available in mass circulation at a moment when the films themselves were far less 'available' than they are today.

August 13, 2010 10:13 AM  
Blogger Ignatiy Vishnevetsky said...


Maybe the decline of the little book has a lot to do with the availability of the film? Being of a different generation, I've always been fascinated with the time often brought up by cinephiles a few decades older than me, when a film was waited for for years and often first encountered via tantalizing stills or descriptions.

August 14, 2010 12:05 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ignatiy, yes, this was certainly true for me, especially because India allowed imports of very few (almost no) films -- Hollywood or otherwise -- in order to protect the local, indigenous market. This was the era of the 70s and 80s when India was run according to the Nehruvian, hybrid socialist-capitalist model, before we threw open all our doors to welcome neo-liberalism and full-blown global capitalism in the early 90s.

I was a passionate reader of film criticism starting in my mid-teens -- and most of the criticism was about American and French films I had not seen yet. I had nearly memorized James Monaco's THE FRENCH NEW WAVE but didn't actually get to see a French New Wave film until I moved to the States, a few years larer, at the age of 22. Talk about being tantalized...!

August 14, 2010 12:39 PM  
Blogger Felix said...

When oh when is the new edition of ROUGE coming out!? I drowning in my own saliva over here.

August 14, 2010 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Corey Creekmur said...

Ignatiy, is this really no longer still often the case? (And I won't show my age by carping about the difference between seeing a "film" and a "film on video" ...) Growing up in a very different context than Girish, I still also vividly recall reading about films (and staring at the stills) and wondering how and when I might ever see them: this was as often true of older Hollywood films as foreign films (or really elusive experimental cinema: Vogel's SUBVERSIVE CINEMA was a source of equal fascination and frustration!). And I can recount my share of what felt like "heroic" viewings, where I stayed up to catch a 2:00 a.m. television broadcast (my first viewing of DETOUR), or made a long car trip in bad weather to see what one assumed would be the only opportunity (in one's lifetime!) to see a film (my viewing of Akerman's GOLDEN EIGHTIES). The arrival of video changed that, and made it possible to actually re-view films but hardly completely. Difficulties of time (who has enough?) and money (who has enough?) aside, I think most cinephiles still have long lists of persistently elusive objects, the films they have read about or seen tantalizing images of but which seem to forever remain out of grasp. (I'm still amazed when things like 60s Hong Kong musicals, when I never thought I would see, are suddenly available!) I imagine the overall ratio of films read about vs. films available for viewing has shifted considerably for most people, but I am sure I'm not alone in still feeling that discrepancy all too often.

August 15, 2010 1:11 PM  
Blogger Ignatiy Vishnevetsky said...


It's still the case to a certain degree, and I still have my own list of Holy Grails, but even so, it's been whittling down faster than I can add to it, and even things that seemed years away in 2004 now can be found, or seen, within the space of months. Maybe it's a question of location? Chicago's film programming has grown increasingly adventurous...

But you still have to admit there's a gigantic difference between waiting for years to see Boudu Saved From Drowning in the 1960s (and then having to make the trek to somewhere like New York to do it) and being able to just grab it at the library.

A thought came to mind earlier this morning: as much as we complain about the loss of film history or the need for film education, I think it's possible that more people have watched a film from, say, 1926 this year than did in 1932. Though, of course, those in 1932 had already seen a lot of 1926 films...

August 16, 2010 12:29 PM  
Blogger martin m said...

I was very touched to see that Jonathan Rosenbaum had reprinted his piece about Jill Forbes. I was her partner from 1989 until the end of her much too short life in 2001. Also glad that Gareth,Girish,Adrian and Corey appreciate her work. If anybody is interested to know more about her, there is quite a lot on Google if you type in Jill Forbes, including an obituary notice from the Guardian newspaper by the playwright David Edgar.
Jonathan, if you read this I would like to get back in touch but don't have your current email address. Mine is
Best wishes to you all
Martin McKeand

September 05, 2010 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Richard A said...

I am currently preparing a commemorative piece on Jill Forbes for the Australian industry journal Metro and have come across this very interesting exchange on British film criticism. It may be of interest to you that I covered the postwar British film journal Sequence, the work of Judith Williamson and that of the all-too-obscure 'Sunday critic' Irene Dobson in my column in recent years. I believe the pieces can be found online under 'Metro'. Some small element of Dobson's work can be found at the Flickhead site.

January 02, 2011 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Richard A said...

I am currently preparing a commemorative piece on Jill Forbes for the Australian industry journal Metro and have come across this very interesting exchange on British film criticism. It may be of interest to you that I covered the postwar British film journal Sequence, the work of Judith Williamson and that of the all-too-obscure 'Sunday critic' Irene Dobson in my column in recent years. I believe the pieces can be found online under 'Metro'. Some small element of Dobson's work can be found at the Flickhead site.

January 02, 2011 10:23 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Sounds great, Richard! If you'd like to post links to any of the pieces for readers to look at, you're always welcome to do so.

January 03, 2011 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Richard A
I was Jill Forbes' partner (see above) and would be very happy to provide any information I can. If you want to get in touch, please feel free to do so via
Are you aware of (very)recently published book "Studies in French Cinema - UK Perspectives 1985-2010"
which is dedicated to Jill, has contributions about and by her
(including the previously unpublished "To the distant observer" ) and about five other UK based French film scholars.Intellect/University of Chicago Press.
Let me know if I can help.
Martin McKeand

January 04, 2011 1:29 PM  

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