Manny Farber, critic and artist, passed away last night at the age of 91. From Glenn Kenny at Some Came Running:
What I found, and find, most valuable in his criticism is his ability to apprehend the entirety of a film–he got it from every angle. He could appreciate a B war picture in the same sense that the guy on the street could, while fully comprehending its value as a work of modern/contemporary art. I’m away from my study, so I can’t grab a copy of Space to quote from it willy-nilly. But I can say this: I doubt that Farber was particularly surprised by Godard’s Breathless, because his criticism actively anticipated that film.
From Ray Pride at Movie City Indie:
These essays are ripe with an appreciation for texture, for the depth or shallowness of cinematic space, for stolen moments, for the wiles of Hollywood’s cheese-headed bores. Writing on films as diverse as those of Preston Sturges, Werner Herzog, Don Siegel and Nicolas Roeg, Farber does not blink. He remains our best: a curmudgeon, but a painstaking one who concedes that his effects are like the layering and smearing and reworking of layers of paint, that he is “unable to write anything at all without extraordinary amounts of rewriting.”