Details. article: Circles and Squares; author(s): Pauline Kael; journal: Film Quarterly (01/Apr/); issue: volume 16, issue 3, pages ; DOI. Circles and Squares. Pauline Kael. FILM QUART, Vol. 16 No. 3, Spring, ; ( pp. ) DOI: / Pauline Kael. Find this author on Google. A rejection of Sarris’ auteur theory Learn with flashcards, games, and more — for free.

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Kael sums up her criticism by wondering why the auteur theory prefers certain commerical films — a saving grace of the auteur theory some will say.

Introductory Readings ane, 2nd Edition, Oxford: And the greatness of a director like Cocteau has nothing to do with mere technical competence: Criticism is an art, not a science, and a critic who follows rules will fail in one of his most important functions: To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: This site uses cookies. Those, like Sarris, who ask for objective standards seem to want a theory of criticism which makes the critic unnecessary.

Oct Nov Dec Often the works in which we are most aware of the personality of the director are his worst films – when he falls back on the devices he has already done to death.

Email required Address never made public. According to Kael if a director does not unify his style, the form, with the content of the script, then the director does not produce good art. Film aesthetics as a distinct, specialized field is a bad joke.

This is obvious in listening to music, seeing plays, reading novels, watching actors; we take it for granted that this is how we perceive the development or the decline of an artist.


What Kael seems to be asking is whether this is really a good criterion for the critique of film. The greatness of critics like Bazin in France and Agee in America may have something to do with their using their full range of intelligence and intuition, rather than relying on formulas. And it is very difficult to explain to such people that criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply, just because you must use everything you are and everything you know that is relevant, and that film criticism is particularly exciting just because of the multiplicity of elements in film art.

In every art form, critics traditionally notice and point out the way the artists borrow from themselves as well as from others and how the same device, techniques, and themes reappear in their work.

I read your posts for quite a long time and should tell you that your articles are always valuable to readers. The smell of a skunk is more distinguishable than the perfume of a rose; does that make it better? But how does this distinguishable personality function as a criterion for judging the works? The distinguishable personality of the director as a criterion of value.

A Couple of Squared Circles, Sarris and Kael – Part II

Infallible taste is inconceivable; what could it be measured against? The art of the critic is to transmit his knowledge of and enthusiasm for art to others.

Kael is asserting that the auteur theory venerates directors who repeat uninteresting and obvious devices. One squages be able to more distinctly distinguish the gaudy, accidental, clumsy hand of a second-rate director than the light, delicate hand of a first-rate director but it does not, or should not, indicate the better director between the two.


The Inner Circle The third and ultimate premise of the auteur theory is concerned with interior meaning, the ultimate glory of the cinema as an art.

Kael goes on to add:. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: These critics work embarrassingly hard trying to give some semblance of intellectual respectability to a preoccupation with mindless, repetitious commercial products.

Kael goes on to add: South Yorkshire England View all posts by A. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Oxford University Press,pp. Kael, in characteristically sardonic and bitchy style, explains that:. He is a good critic if he helps people understand more about the work than they could see for themselves; he is a great critic, if by his understanding and feeling for the work, by his passion, he can excite people so that they want to experience more of the art that is there, waiting to be seized.

Film Quarterly () – Circles and Squares – The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki

The auteur critic, according to Kael, prefers products made out of inferior products: Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here You are commenting using your Twitter account.

An artist who is not a good technician can indeed create new standards, because standards of technical competence are based on comparisons with work already done.

There must be another circle that Sarris forget to jael to – the one where the secrets are kept.