What She Said: The Art Of Pauline Kael

By Rob Garver

USA | In English | 94 min 45 sec | 2018 | M18 (Nudity and Sexual Scene)

 

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael is a portrait of the eminent author and film critic who wrote for The New Yorker from 1968 to 1991. Kael was both lauded and decried for her unbridled candour in reviews that challenged mainstream tastes propagated by a male-dominated industry, influenced ways of thinking about film and helped to define the role of the critic. To her, a critic had to highlight what was truly innovative in an art form, and thus champion its future. 

Kael’s writing style was lethal, yet funny, and full of keen observations. She famously panned The Sound of Music in a review that led to her dismissal from McCall’s Magazine, and sparked controversy with her 1971 essay which questioned the authorship of the script for Citizen Kane. Her 1967 review championing Bonnie and Clyde also played a part in starting the American New Wave in cinema. 

The film paints a profile of Kael weaving her words from interview recordings and published writings read out by Sarah Jessica Parker, with excerpts from films she both praised and deplored. It also includes commentary from industry professionals—including filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Francis Ford Coppola, as well as fellow critics like Molly Haskell and Joe Morgenstern.

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael premiered at the Telluride Film Festival (2018) and was part of the official selection at numerous festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival (2019) and Hong Kong International Film Festival (2019).

Rob Garver (b. 1959, United States) is a filmmaker who has written, produced, and directed several short films that have been screened in New York cinemas and aired on cable television. His films include Comic Belief, a documentary on cartoonist Dan Piraro, The Man In The Yellow Cap (2001), and Two Roads From Belfast, Maine (2004). What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael is his first feature film.

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