Pauline Kael Turns 100

There’s a 100th anniversary celebration of Pauline Kael’s favorite films happening at The Quad in New York City. Kael was/is justifiably considered the messianic figure of American film criticism; her reviews could be very harsh but when she loved a movie, it felt revolutionary. Her acerbic wit and smartly attuned description of films are sorely missed today. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich has a nice little roundup of her 15 most famous reviews, all of which will screen as part of the Quad’s Kael celebration from June 6th to June 20th.

The Quad lineup of films: Bonnie & Clyde, Blue In Love, The Fury, The Gauntlet, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Hannah and Her Sisters, Jaws, La Notte, Last Tango In Paris, Chloe in the Afternoon, Loving, Nashville, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Re-Animator, Richard Pryor Live In Concert, Shampoo, Shoot the Moon, Something Wild, The Story of Adele H, Taxi Driver, True Stories, The Warriors, Weekend, The Wild Bunch and Jackie Brown.

YouTube Bans ‘Triumph of the Will’ For Hate Speech

I wrote this about Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” on 2.13.15:

“Was there ever any doubt that this – quite possibly the most influential film of all time – would not make the list? “Triumph of the Will” is a Nazi propaganda film that, despite its disturbing subject matter, revolutionized the way movies were made. Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl single-handedly rewrote the language of cinema with her use of cinematography and music. This is a work of staggering brilliance with shots that are still hard to achieve to this very day. Filmmakers such as Peter Jackson, George Lucas and Ridley Scott have all admitted to having studied and copied Rifenstahl’s masterpiece. Watching the film with attention to all the details on screen is an incredible experience; add in the fact that this was meant as a propaganda tool by the Nazis and you have one of the most harrowing cinematic experiences imaginable.”

Yesterday, YouTube decided to set up a new rule for uploaded content. Pure and simply, any videos “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status,” would be banned [official statement posted here]. For some reason, they decided to include Riefenstahl‘s Triumph of the Will.

YouTube did specify the film’s ban by indicating that it “promoted or glorified Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory.

Iv’e said it before and I’ll say it again: the film is one of the most influential in the history of film, not for its Nazi ideology, but more so for its groundbreaking technical prowess. Without ‘Triumph’ there would be less advancement in sports broadcasting camerawork — hell, Riefsentahl is even credited as introducing slow-motion in cinema, among many other camera and editing tricks in this masterful film.

Of course, it is no surprise that such a ban has been enforced, but this is a very idiotic road we’re going down. It’s easy to defend speech when you agree with it. Controlling it is dangerous. Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. So, sure, let’s erase history so we forget what evil actually is like.