In Hollywood by Joan Didion (1973)

Some people who write about film seem so temperamentally at odds with what both Fellini and Truffaut have called the “circus” aspect of making film that there is flatly no question of their ever apprehending the social or emotional reality of the process. I think particularly of [Stanley] Kauffman, whose idea of a nasty disclosure about the circus is to reveal that the aerialist is up there to get our attention…About the best a writer on film can hope to do, then, is to bring an engaging or interesting intelligence to bear upon the subject…Reviewing motion pictures, like reviewing new cars, may nor not be a useful consumer service (since people respond to a lighted screen in a dark room in the same secret and powerfully irrational way they respond to most sensory stimuli, I tend to think much of it beside the point, but never mind that); the review of pictures has been, as well, a traditional diversion for writers whose actual work is somewhere else.

“In Hollywood,” by Joan Didion. From The White Album (1979)

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