Director James Gray: Critics Are Bad at Judging Movies


Director James Gray ("Two Lovers," "The Immigrant"), currently serving as jury president at the 2018 Marrakech Film Festival, thinks critics should not be given as much power at film festivals to criticize movies because, quite frankly, they are bad judges of movie quality:

“The number one problem I have with this kind of festival situation is that there’s always this temptation to classify the movie immediately and if you look at it—and I’ve tried to warn my fellow jurors of this—directors and movie critics are the worst people to judge movies.” Gray told The Film Stage during an interview on his break time at Marrakech.

“Directors are always thinking, ‘I could do that,'” Gray continued. “Critics are always saying, ‘This part of the movie is like the 1947 version and this part…’ And it’s like, ‘Fuck! Just watch the movie and try and absorb it and not compare it to some other fucking movie and put it in a box!'”

“‘[The film] didn’t do this or that like I wanted’”—it’s not about that,” the director said. “It’s trying to absorb what [the movie is] trying to communicate. I let time be the judge” he says. 

Let's flashback to Cannes 2013 when Gray brought "The Immigrant" to the Croisette, the film was met with a divisive response. Which culminated with Gray telling Cannes critics to "go fuck themselves.

He still stands stands by those words.

I think most of the people that go to Cannes and watch movies, they’re full of shit,” Gray told The Film Stage. “I think that they’re there for some bullshit agenda. They don’t allow the movie to be absorbed emotionally…I think the problem is, with that festival in particular — again I’ve seen it first hand from the other side as well — they are the protectors of the status quo and in a way they don’t think they are, right? They think they are being bold.”