From: Jim Carlile (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Jul 28 2007 - 18:05:53 PDT

You're right. I left out the laughter part because I thought it didn't
really relate to what Kael thought of Snow. and that it would also be tedious to
explain the origin of the quote. Also, perhaps the audience was merely
laughing at Kael's use of "minimalist," as if they expected a joke from her and
thought she was being sarcastic, a la Kael?
Good work-- sharp observation. Those later Kael interviews are great,
especially where she indicates that popular culture isn't everything, that maybe we
should be talking about other things now. That puts the lie to critics who
read "I lost it" and think that that's her major statement on things, that
popular art is somehow superior. That ain't what she thought at all.
Correction on the quote below:

Q (from the audience): What do you think of Michael Snow's films?

PK: (to Godard) Do you know his work...some of it is conceptual, minimalist
work....(laughter). I don't mean that in a pejorative sense, some of it is
quite extraordinary. I have been on foundation committees where I voted
vigorously to give him support. I think his work has all sorts of potential interest
and all sorts of interest aesthetically. But he's really working in an area
that isn't theatrical film. He is really working more like a painter but in
the film medium. And his work is comparable to some of the work of the
minimalist painters..."

Godard didn't respond, or his response was excised from the transcript.

I post this correction because I think that the audience laughing at Kael's
characterization of Snow's work is an important indicator of how
"experimental/AG" is (or has been) so shallowly perceived that the mere mention of
minimal or conceptual elicits laughter from the audience, and that Kael then feels
the need to contextualize her characterization as not "pejorative."

Ah, the early 80's...


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