Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Michel Ciment on Andrew Sarris

"It amuses me to tell this story, because years later, at the Cannes festival in 1973, after the projection of Jerry Schatzber's Scarecrow, the American critics didn't like the film at all, and in particular one of its biggest authorities, Andrew Sarris, who violently attacked me: "But you seriously like this film?! That's normal because you don't get what is America. You don't know the country, so you can't judge it." He even told me the expression: "You miss the nuance of the English language." And I responded to him: "In that case, how can you be the great American specialist on the Nouvelle Vauge if you do not speak French? While I on the other hand regularly speak in English. You live on Park Avenue in a really nice building. I think that I know a lot better the deep American of Scarecrow than you. Have you slept in a Salvation Army to cheaply spend the night in Nebraska? Have you been in a Greyhound station to wait for the first bus, sleeping for five hours in its waiting area? Have you been in poor hotels à la Faulker, being scared at night because the door to the room didn't lock? I lived through that. And for that I know a lot better than you the lives of Max and Leo." - Michel Ciment (Le Cinéma en Partage)

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