Let me barge in for just a moment on Denis [aka Dennis] Seguin, who is
being discussed a lot here while, I suspect, he is busy watching films at
Cannes and not party to this.
Dennis was a student of mine (too many years back for me to comfortably
remember). I remember still that even as a very young and eager
undergraduate he was a committed viewer and reviewer of film, and that he
had begun to do this in high school. His analysis at the time left
something out that I wanted in--a criticism that was more than just
taste--and later I read him in some Toronto newspapers and felt the
same. But I can affirm that he is devoted to film, that he is deeply
involved with it in all of himself; and there is little enough of that
kind of passion in this age of quick fixes, spotty "commitments,"
spurious engagements, slaphappy opinionating about what isn't worth
saying in the first place. I believe Dennis is trying to grow beyond
that, and it strikes me as both encouraging and wonderful that after all
these years he's still at it.
I would be interested to know, from members of the list who care to say,
just who IS a great film critic in their eyes, these days. I don't mean
"student," or "commentator," I mean *critic.* Surely not Siskel and
Ebert. In Toronto, where Dennis did a lot of his learning, the models he
had to follow in the professional press were hacks who wrote the review
either (a) strictly from the press kit, or (b) with an overdramatized
"personal" voice so as to intimate an experience of filmmaking they did
Dear Dennis/Denis: Please look harder and longer at film, and even say a
little less; but good for you for looking, and keeping looking. Don't stop.