Tuesday, April 8, 2008

P.C. Criticism

The topic of women in movies was brought up. Curiously enough, this past Saturday afternoon I saw a free showing of a Mary Pickford flick, "Daddy Long Legs," at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which was accompanied by live piano.

In its way it's a great movie, for all its simplicity. It's a tale of a woman found in a trash can as a baby and raised in an orphanage. Made in 1919, when many countries, including this one, were on the verge of revolution, its theme from start to finish is class: the difference between rich and poor in America. The movie contains scenes of tremendous pathos, very real scenes-- Dickensian scenes-- of a kind not to be found in movies or in any art form today.

At the same time the movie has great humor-- Mary Pickford WAS a wonderful player-- and a joy of life about it, as in the brief scene when she plays Juliet in an outdoor performance of Shakespeare at the college to which a mysterious benefactor has sent her after her "graduation" from the orphanage. Literature was far more important in that world, ninety years ago. The Pickford character, Judy, gains her independence not through becoming a rock star, but by writing a novel!

What do the DIA brochure notes say about the film? "-- reflects both fascination and ambivelence (sic) toward women's expanding social prerogatives."

Say what? I looked very hard to find this in the actual movie, and couldn't.

The movie in fact shows the solidarity between lower class men and women, in the scenes of children's rebellion at the orphanage. Some university-trained robot puts a p.c. twist on the movie regardless.

It's frustrating to see this, as we live in a time when this America of ours is more of a plutocracy than ever before, yet our critics refuse to see it. They willfully wear blinders, tapping away at their keyboards about prism-distilled boozhie-approved subjects like "women's social prerogatives" while the real story like a giant monster looms unseen behind them.


Toast said...

Quit being so PC, Kink. Always seeing some giant looming monster of a plutocracy in every movie you watch. What's wrong with aesthetic appreciation?

tim said...

Well, regarding Pickford...she was an international superstar, not merely because she was a heartfelt actress and genuine sweetheart, but because she could portray every possible emotion with equal amounts of passion and sincerity. Her artwork transcended class, culture, gender, race, religion, etc.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

I see some giant monster of a plutocracy in this country. . . .
Great wealth and privilege mixed with degrading poverty.
Why is everyone afraid of discussing this?
p.s., Tim, this post was a reaction to the p.c. reaction to my previous post, a review of "Kwai." Yes, the greatest art transcends everything-- like The Iliad," stillmexciting after thousands of years. That's ultimately what artists today should be creating-- and aren't. I'm not bogged down by gender, race, etc. At the same time, I believe a work of scope-- such as a great novel-- has to be aware of the larger context. Amazing to me that so many novelists today have a narrow viewpoint-- and are not writing great novels.

Toast said...

PCPCPCPC. Nothing but Marxist political ramblings instead of any literary or aesthetic issues at all. Why do you have to be so PC?