September 21 2015 Drama Movies Newsletter
Pauline Kael is the subject of Brian Kellow's 2011 biography "Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark", a book I read this past week. The above quote is taken from an essay Kael wrote concerning the effect marketing and the blockbuster mentality was having on the quality of American film. Although I disagree with some of Kael's opinions, I absolutly agree with her view that an artist must believe in the audience and not necessarily follow what the market dictates.
Kael reviewed films for "The New Yorker" magazine from 1968 to 1991, and for a time was America's most influential film critic. Kellow's biography is well-written and balanced, detailing Kael's strengths and weaknesses. Kael became friends with some of the directors whose work she championed, which was bound to lead to conflicts of interest when she reviewed their work. She also quit writing for a brief period during which she worked at Paramount, an experiment that ended in failure. Kael's writing was direct and colorful and controversial. Kellow's biography not only gives insight into her life and career, it is also a history of American film during the time which she was writing.
In her reviews, Kael praised the new Western that appeared on-screen during the late 60s and early 70s, films like "The Wild Bunch" and "McCabe and Mrs. Miller". The film I reviewed this week harks back to earlier Westerns, produced during Hollywood's golden age. "The Salvation" has a nostalgic feel to it, but also a dream-like quality. The movie was actually filmed in South Africa, so it looks similar/different from what we expect. The music by Kasper Winding is beautiful and somber, setting the mood for a story in which a man loses his entire family. I'm amazed that one critic described "The Salvation" as "a hell of a lot of fun." Director Kristian Levring does not present his story in comic-book fashion.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
The Salvation Film Review
"The Salvation" is Danish director Kristian Levring's homage to the American Western. Mads Mikkelsen, discarding the villainous character type he usually plays in English language films, is the hero in this tale of revenge.
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