Friday, December 15, 2006

Arthur Penn wird geehrt

Some good news about Arthur Penn: The veteran filmmaker will be honored with the Golden Bear award for lifetime achievement next February at the 57th annual Berlin Film Festival.

BTW: I'm more than a little amused to note how, more than three decades after its release, Night Moves is listed so high on Penn's list of credits -- right up there with Bonnie and Clyde -- and how much praise is routinely (and, I hasten to add, justifiably) heaped on this spendid neo-noir thriller. Go back and take a look at how the film was treated by critics during its original 1975 theatrical run. To describe the reviews as mixed would be charitable -- and, alas, inaccurate.

Yes, it's true: Sometimes, the critics get it wrong. Very wrong. But if you're very lucky, as Penn has been, you get to stick around long enough for some revisionist thinking and insightful reappraisals. It reminds me, of course, of the Chinese proverb: You sit by the river long enough, and you'll see all of your enemies float by.

More important, it also makes me wonder: What contempoary films that have been under-rated (or assaulted) by critics will, three decades from now, be acknowledged as classics? I would nominate Don't Come Knocking as a likely candidate. Any others?

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