For any number of valid reasons I am compelled by my mood to defend the job and art of film criticism, starting by saying that film criticism isn’t about whether or not you like a movie. Nobody cares. Anyone can like a movie. Your role as a critic isn’t about “liking” the movies you cover. It’s about your facility with prose and your acumen as a semi-academic slash historian slash cultural anthropologist. This is a very fine way of saying that good criticism is about more than a movie in a vacuum, and that good critics know about not only movies but about the periods movies are made in.
That’s my big wind-up to a declaration of deep sentiment over my piece about Arrebato, Iván Zulueta’s second and final feature movie, “lost” for all intents and purposes since about the 1980s and now restored by Altered Innocence. Writing this piece came down to more than writing about “a movie.” It came down to writing about Zulueta’s life story, post-Francoist Spain, La Transicion, La Movida, and what allowed Pedro Almodovar to rise to the top in that era while Zulueta sank. This is a story. That’s what good criticism is: A form of journalism, which is a form of storytelling.
Anyways. This piece matters a great deal to me. Special thanks to my interviewee, Michael Frost, for the insights and history. You can read the full thing over at Fangoria.