More on the passing of critic Manny Farber:
J. Hoberman at the Village Voice (alongside a reprint of his 1981 essay “Termite Makes Right”):
Farber wasn’t like other critics. He didn’t proselytize and he didn’t create systems. Rather, he articulated his idiosyncratic perception, which is to say: He had a sensibility. Farber was as punchy and hardboiled, at least in his prose, as Sam Fuller (a director he admired) and as masterful a vernacular stylist as S. J. Perelman (who, knowledgeable as he was, nodded to Farber in one of his pieces). As was said of Perelman, before they made Manny they broke the mold.
Jonathan Rosenbaum offers “They Drive by Night: The Criticism of Manny Farber,” written for his 1993 collection “Placing Movies: The Practice of Film Criticism.”
Roger Ebert has an anecdote:
I met Manny and Patricia for the first time at the 1972 Venice Film Festival, where, typically for Manny, he had arrived not having bothered to tell anyone he was coming, or obtaining any credentials. There they were, getting off the vaporetto at the Lido pier, and looking around for the festival. How did we know one another? We may have been introduced by Michael Kutza, director of the Chicago festival. I took him to the press office, and announced, “You must give this man a pass because he is the most important film critic in America.” My word carried no weight, other than getting the Farber name passed along to the festival director, who knew of Farber and came bustling out apologizing for “misplacing” his application.
At Moving Image Source, David Schwartz talks about Farber with Paul Schrader:
So what was his importance to Marty and you as a film critic?
He wasn’t really my main person, I was a protÃ©gÃ© of Pauline Kael, and he and Kael were quite dissimilar, so I wasn’t really of the Manny school. In fact it’s hard to imagine a Manny Farber school of film criticism.
Because he’s so unique?
Yeah. And so iconoclastic. The first thing they would do in a Manny Farber School of Film Criticism is shut down!
And Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly:
Taped to my wall is a quote from Farber that captures his pugnacity, clear-eyed romanticism, and inspirational fervor as well as anything: “I get a great laugh from artists who ridicule the critics as parasites and artists manquÃ©s — such a horrible joke. I can’t imagine a more perfect art form, a more perfect career than criticism. I can’t imagine anything more valuable to do.” Not many critics could — or would dare — say such a thing today. One more reason why Farber will remain forever invaluable.
+ Manny Farber 1917-2008 (Village Voice)
+ They Drive by Night: The Criticism of Manny Farber (JonathanRosenbaum.com)
+ Manny Farber: In memory (RogerEbert.com)
+ Manny Farber (1917-2008) (Moving Image Source)
+ Remembering Manny Farber (Entertainment Weekly)