Dear Reverse Shot,
As a member of the NYFF selection committee, I can confirm that Nick Pinkerton’s assessment of our criteria (“obligatory slot-filling by one of the ‘Old Masters’ of the Sixties art house”) is absolutely correct.
Of course, we did have a Manoel de Olveira movie ready and waiting, despite the fact that his moment of glory didn’t really arrive until the 70s, well after that special Golden Sixties Art House Glow (let’s call it GSAHG for short) had faded. Nonetheless, we were worried: nothing from Godard, nothing from Rivette or Bergman, and much to our horror, Truffaut and Fellini were dead. Then, at the last minute, along came a new movie from the heavily subsidized and suitably complacent M. Resnais, with exactly the lack of urgency, the unexceptionable hominess, and the scanty charm we were looking for.
Of course, this slot is becoming increasingly difficult to fill, so difficult that I introduced a motion at our last meeting to ban all movies by Old Masters of the GSAHG variety. But as we puffed on our cigars and sipped a marvelous old port in the comfort of our club (exclusivity precludes me from divulging its name or whereabouts), my motion died away with the last rays of the brilliant autumn sunlight. At which point it was time to toddle home and catch up on “Newhart” reruns.
Who knows what next year will bring? Which old, self-satisfied, state-subsidized Old Master will come forth with another warm blanket of celluloid? My pulse races at the very prospect.
Nick Pinkerton responds: