THE CRITIC’S CRITIC

Jul 16, 2009

The venerable critic Andrew Sarris, now eighty-one years old, gets his due in a lovely profile in the New York Times by Michael Powell (no, not that one). This die-hard auteurist, who has contributed writing and been featured in on-screen interviews for Criterion releases, and recently left the New York Observer (his home since 1989, following decades as a groundbreaking critic at the Village Voice), is, in Powell’s words, “one of the last refugees of the heroic age of film criticism.” The article also provides a light but thorough crash course on that hallowed era of movie watching and writing, invoking Sarris’s battles royal with Pauline Kael and John Simon, and reminding us of the days when lines snaked around the block at the local art houses.