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‘And the cinema is Nicholas Ray.’ Film criticism, of course, is Manny Farber.
‘I can’t imagine a more perfect art form, a more perfect career than criticism,’ Farber told Thompson at the end of their conversation in 1977.
No critic, not even Godard, has had a more developed understanding of a movie as mobile composition, a wheeling mandala of sounds and images in dialogue with one another and with their viewers.
Perhaps because of his relationships with contentious friends in the literary and art worlds—from James Agee to Jackson Pollock, Walker Evans to Clement Greenberg—as well as making his living for many years as a carpenter, he came to examine each movie as an open set of overlapping fields, which encouraged a style that reveled in Borgesian catalogues of telling detail and led him to give heightened prominence to the varieties of film space.
(Nicholas Ray, 1957), Jean-Luc Godard famously declared: ‘There was theater (Griffith), poetry (Murnau), painting (Rossellini), dance (Eisenstein), music (Renoir).
Henceforth there is cinema.’ You can still hear the dramatic pause ...