On reading Pauline Kael’s review

​To write a review of eight thousand words is definitely a herculean task and getting that piece published while not being am established writer is nearly impossible but Pauline Kael did that with her review on the 1967 movie Bonnie and Clyde. She became an in-house reviewer for the New Yorker Magazine after that review and has held on to that position ever since.

Pauline Kael in Tennis shoes

Picture credits:http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.in/

The review in itself is well written but that’s a given, the amount of research she’s done is clearly evident, you can’t just write eight thousand words about something without having anything to say or doing enough research on it. There is a lot of passion, love, interest and dedication that Kael has towards American Cinema and that is beyond just watching movies, but has understood the process of making cinema. She talks about the work and works of the script-writer and director, compares their previous works to current work and makes well informed and educated comments and guesses.

Kael’s commentary about the film, actors, script and its writer, and the director are subjected to comparison of their previous work and the present film. This kind of commentary can be made only when one has enough knowledge on the subject and to write like this is both luxurious and cumbersome. Luxurious to write so much about a film and you don’t have to worry about going over-board because in eight thousand words one can resolve any problem.

I’d love to review and write like Pauline Kael, but from conversations about Pauline Kael, I expected to read a kind of Paromita Vohra review, funny, sarcastic and Bitchy. Kael wrote like a polite, young British women; that was disappointing but she’s a smart and calculative writer. The review didn’t give out much about the film like any good review is supposed to but it still justified, debated and argued everything; from opinions she had about all the things being said about the films and the various controversies about the film, and the violence in it.

I’d love to review a film this way, it would be an amazing scoop but the problem will be if I’m expected to write a review on a film that isn’t from Telugu, Tamil or Kannada cinema industry. These are the three industries I’ve been engaging with since my childhood, which is as early as three or four years. I’ve been part of the fan circle ever since, heard all the gossip, rumours, crazy things people would do to meet the stars. I’m a child from the era where we cut out newspaper clippings, stories and mostly pictures of our favourite pictures; this was a thing because the computer and mobiles still hadn’t completely taken over daily lives and people liked touching things that weren’t their mobile, iPad, kindle or laptop screens.

Anyways, I’d love to do such piece on Chireneevi’s 150th film that is coming out in 2017 and everybody has been talking about this film for the last two maybe three years and the pre-production is complete, film shooting has also started. All of this I know mostly from conversation with my family because discussing cinema, politics and general gossip is something we all bond over other than dirty jokes.


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