Afterglow: A Last Conversation With Pauline Kael

Book Reviews | Nov 12th, 2006

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Author: Francis Davis
Publisher: DaCapo Press
Genre: Movies
Pages: 128
Retail Price: 9.99
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Interviews have their place in literature but it is unnecessary to release individual conversations as books. Collections and compilations exist for this type of record. At little more than 100 pages, Afterglow is a quick read and could probably be skimmed through in the bookstore. Though a fine tribute to the influential film critic, Kael’s collections of reviews are much more interesting for those wanting to become familiar with her work.

As a young film critic, I was not able to follow her career as it happened and when I finally read her reviews, I usually disagreed with her opinions of the old films I began visiting for myself. Yet she was known for being a good writer more than she was known for her opinions because she had a love for movies which was shared with readers every week. She always appeared like someone who you’d love to talk with.

The conversation between Davis and Kael is fun but there is not a whole lot of in-depth talk of films. The critic brings up Altman, and Nashville in particular, a bit much. There is a closeness that develops, though, helped by a beautifully memoirist introduction and you really get to feel a basic understanding of Kael that isn’t always prevalent in her work.

The book may only be a delight to fans of film and film criticism and yet still be of very little importance to us. There must be a number of interviews like this one that could fill up a whole volume and be worth the price, but sadly, this sole work is insignificant by itself.


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