Manny Farber (1917–2008) was once a distinct determine between American motion picture critics. Champion of what he referred to as "termite paintings" (focused, frequently eccentric virtuosity in place of "white elephant" monumentality), grasp of a distinct prose sort whose jazz-like phraseology and incandescent twists and turns made each evaluate an experience, he has lengthy been respected by way of his friends. Susan Sontag known as him "the liveliest, smartest, most unique movie critic this kingdom ever produced"; for Peter Bogdanovich, he was once "razor-sharp in his perceptions" and "never below awesome as a writer."
Farber was once an early discoverer of many filmmakers later acclaimed as American masters: Val Lewton, Preston Sturges, Samuel Fuller, Raoul Walsh, Anthony Mann. A prodigiously proficient painter himself, he dropped at his writing an artist's eye for what was once at the monitor. Alert to any filmmaker, irrespective of how marginal or unsung, who was once "doing go-for-broke artwork and never being concerned what comes of it," he was once uncompromising in his contempt for pretension and trendiness, for, as he placed it, administrators who "pin the viewer to the wall and slug him with rainy towels of artiness and significance."
The pleasure of his feedback, although, has much less to do along with his specific likes and dislikes than with the standard of awareness he paid to every movie because it unfolds, to the "chains of rapport and intimate wisdom" in its moment-to-moment truth. To transcribe that wisdom he created a prose that, in Robert Polito's phrases, enables "oddities, muddles, crises, contradictions, useless ends, a number of possible choices, and divergent vistas." the result's serious essays which are themselves works of art.
Farber on Film brings jointly this amazing physique of labor in its entirety for the 1st time, from his early and formerly uncollected weekly reports for The New Republic and The Nation to his outstanding later essays (some written in collaboration along with his spouse Patricia Patterson) on Godard, Fassbinder, Herzog, Scorsese, Altman, and others. that includes an creation through editor Robert Polito that examines intimately the phases of Farber's profession and his enduring value as author and thinker, Farber on Film is a landmark quantity that might be a vintage in American criticism.
From the exchange Paperback edition.