In order to schedule our next season of events we have been watching lots of films and reading the reviews for many, many more. And this got us thinking about the role of the film critic – and how important he or she really is…
When Philip French died last year, every film critic you’ve ever heard of wrote emotional pieces lauding his work and claiming that he had elevated the film critic’s profession to an art form.
Mark Kermode wrote: “His reviews were mini history lessons, carefully situating films within a century of cinema, encouraging the reader to dig deeper and discover more. Even when criticising a film, Philip did so with compassion. His writing was witty, but never flippant.”
French wrote for the observer from 1963 until his retirement in 2013 and has been described as “an inspiration to an entire generation of film critics”.
But where are today’s professional film critics? Just four years ago Godfrey Cheshire wrote in the New York Times that the art of Film Criticism was a dying one. That there are fewer and fewer professional critics. In fact Germany claimed to have just eight. Eight!
Cheshire writes: “I think that criticism is crucial to the conversation between filmgoers and all filmmakers who are trying to do serious, culturally important work, which is to say a small percentage of those in Hollywood but a very large percentage of those who make documentaries and independent films.”
Inspired, Pop Up Docs are seeking out the next generation of film critics to review our next screening:
BABIES has two screenings (11am and 2.30pm) at New Oriel Hall on Thurs 27th October. We’d love for anyone aged 0-18 to have a go at a film review, either through a drawing (a scene from the film or just a picture inspired by the film) or a 250wd paragraph. The very best reviews will be featured on the Pop Up Docs website and shared with the child’s school.
All entries to be submitted by 7th Nov to firstname.lastname@example.org
For further help and information on being a Pop Up Docs film critic – download our guidelines: pop-up-docs-young-film-critics