David Hudson at GreenCine Daily, ever the exceptional linker, pointed to a very compelling argument put forth by Glenn Kenny of Premiere Magazine about the lack of appreciation of art films among the film industry types.
“But you might remember what Lenin said about imperialist/ capitalist/ corporate culture. ‘Give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves,’ or was it ‘We shall sell them the rope with which?’ I know,whatever. In any case, as with so much else, Lenin was wrong here. The actual situation with imperialist/capitalist/corporate culture is that if you give it an inch, it’ll take a yard, and then kick and scream (or whatever else is necessary) until they get the whole field. A lot of the associate editor types coming in (to TIFF) exemplify a taste that I’ll, for immediate lack of a better term,classify as hipster-bourgeois. Bourgeois because the sensibility is reflexively hostile to any aesthetic experience that challenges what these people already think they know. These are the people for whom the word ‘pretentious’ is a rubber stamp by which they seek to invalidate and close off any argument about anything they don’t ‘get’, never mind that they don’t even know the actual meaning of the word. And while their bourgeois perspective seeks out work that affirms and validates their intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual complacency, they still claim to seek ‘edge’… For the hipster-bourgeois, it’s not just about not seeing the new Aleksandr Sokurov movie; it’s about creating a film culture in which Aleksandr Sokurov is not permitted to exist. (But, thank God, he still does.) In any case, for the first time in my life, I really understand how William Holden’s character in Fedora felt.“
I have to say, I agree. There is a sense among many in the industry, programmers, PR types, even press, that you must follow the buzz. This is nothing new and is not exceptional to the film industry, but I found it utterly ironic to read such an argument in Premiere Magazine (well, a blog on the Premiere Magazine website) of all places. One of the great things about blogging and new media forms is the ability for passionate people to connect to one another’s ideas, to present ideas in an open space; we can create our own buzz. If Les Amants Reguliers is as good as Glenn says, when I catch it this Friday, I will be certain to add my voice to those who speak passionately about the film. But like all underground movements (and foreign language and art cinema are certainly an underground movement in America), we have to create our own sense of value and hype. Who cares what the PR kids from LA say? We know what the hipsters like and it is boring. Why not use Premere Magazine to create a useful, consistent journal of the art you care about? I am not surprised by any of what Glenn reports, more surprised at his sense of surprise. But one thing is true, and I said it before, I know a lot of people working the film industry who don’t even like movies. Toronto isn’t the only place this dilemma plays itself out, but it is depressing to see empty houses for great foreign titles. If not at festivals, among those who profess a love of cinema, where will these films ever find an audience?