Gathering Leaves

Director Eric Rohmer tells his Autumn Tale--and a seasoned critic turns the page

Time and the often goofy work climate at this paper have tempered my attitude; where once I hoarded column space as the paper's only film critic I'm now happy to see many voices speaking up. I trust the local audience more to have its own mind, and I realize they can be erudite in their own ways, thanks to the educational catch-up of the VCR. I think it's okay to write as an amateur, if that means being an interesting and enterprising writer who happens to cover movies. Thanks also to innovative venues (Walker Art Center, U Film Society, Oak Street Cinema, Red Eye Cinema, Uptown Theatre/Lagoon Cinema, Parkway Theatre), these are good cities for seeing, discussing, and writing about movies, and I think City Pages and all its writers have helped to make that happen.

Things have happened in my 21-year relationship to movies as a critic that I still don't get or am embarrassed by. I don't get the appeal of horror, period, and David Cronenberg in particular. Todd Haynes leaves me cold; Todd Solondz amazes me. I don't see why general audiences don't take movies for kids more seriously. And I apologize right now for accepting that press junket for Three Men and a Little Lady. In a larger sense, I both don't get and apologize for the weird but apparently necessary relationship between thoughtful reviewing and the marketing of a movie. I guess I should be proud that few of my phrases were ever quoted in movie ads.

All the time I've been paid by the column at this paper, I've been teaching college by the course, primarily at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and (for a time) Metropolitan State University. Now I'm full time (with a pension!) at MCAD and loving it, and I've got wonderful teenagers with published bylines, and a wife who loves me, and a mother pushing 89 who's on the mend but remains alert and fascinating. I have more real life in my life than the fictions of movies can compete with, so for the foreseeable future I'll join you in the audience. Thanks for reading, if you did.

 

Autumn Tale starts Friday at the Uptown Theatre.

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