Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sarris says it all

The other day, I came across a perfect definition of the art of film directing. At least the kind of film directing I value most. It comes courtesy of Andrew Sarris, who probably wasn't trying to make a sweeping statement when he tossed off these words in his favorable Village Voice review of Mike Nichols's The Graduate. But for me it says it all.

"Style is more an attitude toward things than the things themselves. It can be a raised eyebrow or a nervous smile or a pair of shrugged shoulders. It can even be an averted glance."

I could write ten thousand words on why I treasure the style of George Cukor more than I do the style of Terrence Malick.

But I could never express the core idea behind that opinion better than Andrew Sarris did, more than forty years ago.