Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Even though i'm in Berlin, the end-of-the-year film critics awards and polls have proven to be endlessly entertaining. Right off the bat, i have to make a point: i don't believe in consensus as a critical value. That is just... wrong! A critical perspective should be one where one's own aesthetic values are allowed to determine one's judgements. It used to be called "taste".

The reason i participate in these polls (i am included in the Village Voice/LA Weekly poll, and the IndieWire poll) is that i feel that my perspective (which is one which focuses on "alternative" film) should be represented, and i take a stand to include those films, either international or national, which find limited release because they're independent/experimental/whatever. I do not care if everyone else is flipping over James Cameron's "Avatar"; that's not my concern (and i'm not invited to be part of that juggernaut anyway). If there are people with similar interests in the "margins" as opposed to simply the commercial mainstream, fine. (James Quandt and J. Hoberman are two who usually find some overlap with my choices.) But i'm not here to provide another vote in a generalized consensus; quite the opposite.

And this brings me to the question: why has the poll taken on such significance? What happened to the individual critical voice?


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