Monday, December 20, 2010

A Slight Rant and a Big Thank You



Nothing gets under my skin more than elitist film critics, fans and self-appointed ‘experts’ who live to force their view of what ‘great art’ is, and isn’t, on anyone unlucky enough to be in their vicinity. Recently while perusing a certain message board concerning Jean Rollin’s untimely passing I was angered by one of these elitist blowhards who not only questioned Rollin’s place in film history but questioned that anyone actually cared that he had passed. I don’t ask that everyone be a fan of Rollin’s canon, one of art’s defining qualities is that it will never be universally loved, but how dare someone take it upon themselves to state that others shouldn’t admire his work and mourn his passing.

I get so sick and tired of so called film lovers who only admire what they consider ‘high-art’ and who dismiss anything they see as beneath them. My only consolation is that their ‘work’ will be forgotten while the films of directors they routinely reject like Rollin, Franco, Metzger, Sarno and Borowczyk will continue to prosper and find new fans and admirers with each passing year.

Since Jean Rollin passed away less than a week ago he has been granted some of the most eloquent and passionate tributes by a mostly online community of writers who have been touched by his work, often in a very profound way. These are talented writers who aren’t getting paid for what they do. They are writing because they have a very genuine passion for film, and they are among the most knowledgeable and articulate film historians on the planet.

I just wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who has posted these wonderful tributes these past few days to Jean Rollin, an artist who faced harsh criticism throughout his career and will no doubt face the same jabs in death. Those snobby ‘lovers’ of film, like the gentlemen at that message board, look to take-out anyone who goes against their perceived and small ideas of what makes a great artist. They will sadly always be in our midst, looking to put out the creative fires of our most imaginative artists, but their narrow viewpoint ultimately means NOTHING.

Take comfort in THE FACT that Jean Rollin’s work will survive long after the words of these so called purveyors of fine-art are completely forgotten.

I know I do…

4 comments:

ThatQuebecGuy said...

Well said, I agree on every word. It saddens me to see how much snobbishness and negativeness there is in the film community, not that we should stop criticizing (it is good to be able to put words on your feeling towards a movie, may it be positive or negative), but why would anyone go out of his way to bash a filmmaker/movie or to ridicule someone for having different tastes? Especially after a recent death (very tactless).

Not only such a behavior indicates that the person is oblivious to the concept of "different opinions" or that he/she thinks that his opinion is better or "right" (which is a highly pretentious), but wouldn't that energy be better spent championing a favorite? I know I'd rather do that. Maybe I only speak for myself, but I find it a lot more enjoyable to discuss filmmakers that I like than to critique the ones that I dislike (unless, there is something of value to be said).

I also finds lamentable the lack of adventurousness in a lot of cinephile. The "cinematic canon" is fine and all, but it's not the bible, I find it boring to restrict oneself to only that.

On a more positive note, I'll be watching Fascination tomorrow, can't wait!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Quebec,
I appreciate that and absolutely agree with your thoughts as well. I did what to clarify that I absolutely have no problem with someone expressing a negative opinion towards a film. I do have a big problem though with anyone who attempts to dictate what is art and what isn't and I can't tolerate personal attacks against someone for making or liking a certain film. For example, I can't stand FOREST GUMP but I recognize that there are many people and critics who love it and I am considerate of that. It doesn't change my opinion but I would never put down someone who cares for the film or the people behind it.
I just really get tired of this whole elitist attitude so many people have aganst certain films and filmmakers. Horror and erotica are certainly two of the main genres that are often held in disdain by these folks, so it makes sense that they would hate Rollin.
Sorry, I'm rambling. I don't usually post stuff like this (I feel like I am much less articulate when I am angry) but a couple of things I have read recently have just burned me to the core.
Thanks for commenting...

Will Errickson said...

This reminded me of one of my favorite passages by Rimbaud:

"I liked stupid paintings, door panels, stage sets, back-drops for acrobats, signs, popular engravings, old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books with bad spelling, novels of our grandmothers, fairy tales, little books from childhood, old operas, ridiculous refrains, naive rhythms."

Yep, even Rimbaud, so beloved of high-art snobs everywhere, liked dirty books and "low art." While I do think a bit of "snobbery" and elitism is a good thing--it's good to use one's critical faculties and have some discernment and call out BS when one sees it--art is many times where one finds it. What is truly offensive is the tactlessness of this dude's post. Indeed a classless turd.

bjoernh said...

Well, for some time now I do not really care what so-called Critics have to say.
There are movies with an IMDB-Rating of 8 or 9 I dislike and with a Rating of 2 or 3 I like.
There are movies that appeal to different things: Popcorn-Movies that are perfect entertainment or dramatic movies that keep you on the edge of your seats.
But Rollin's films have always appealed to the heart - and in the end: Isn't that one of the best things a movie can do?
My love started one today in a well known german multimedia store: There was a DVD of "Village of the living dead" (which is a cut version of Grapes of Death) lying around that stated that it was "From the Director of Lady Dracula" (Lady Dracula = The living dead girl) and on the backside was the image of the gorgeous Brigitte Lahaie (the Cover can be seen here: http://www.ofdb.de/view.php?page=fassung&fid=3989&vid=173519).
I watched it and really liked the atmosphere so I moved on to "The iron rose" and again the quiet atomsphere and the good cast thrilled me.
Following up was "Rape of the Vampire" and even so I liked the first half much better (well only the first time, the second time I liked both halfes :D) my love for Rollin was perfect.
And then *it* happended: I watched "Lips of Blood" - and this movie touched me as no movie ever before.
From that time on I started to grab Rollin's DVD's whereever I could find them. I have all of the Encore-Releases, several discs from Germany, England and the US and now have 21 movies (with Number 22 "Schoolgirl Hitchhikers" on the way :P) of Rollin.
Even so I like some of Rollins films better than others they all still touch me - and for this Rollin has to be acknowledged.
Regardless of some Pseudo-Expert thinking otherwise...