Note: This is the twelfth entry in an ongoing series that honors creative bloggers who have really made a difference, raising the bar for quality and productivity on the cultural front.
by Sam Juliano
He’s no fan of Pixar animation. He has questioned the long-held adoration for Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc, and once wrote a scathing dismissal of Citizen Kane, saying the cinema landmark was actually a “bad” film. His placement of Sucker Punch as the best film of it’s year raised eyebrows, and his personal taste remains as autonomous and scrutinizing as any writer committed to culture ad the arts. Yet, one who approaches the often-infuriating prose of Briton Stephen Russell-Gebbett is in for a veritable lesson in how to approach art from a perspective long held as alienating. Russell-Gebbett’s spirited, opinionated and descriptive prose asks readers to think through long-protected views tainted by nostalgia and volumes of scholarly study by critics and historians that have served to maintain an acknowledged position by consensus building. Whether one ultimately agrees with Russell-Gebbett, one can never deny his compelling arguments and the confidence that enables him to demonstrate by the evidence that he’s far more than a contrarian looking for attention. His taste is rarely tempered by sentiment and the ‘emotional underpinning’ and he frankly admits “I have always thought that art appreciation can only really be subjective because nothing is not filtered through an individual person’s senses. A by-product of this is a feeling of freedom in not being squashed by the stamp of popular approval. Art is personal in the making and in the watching. Also, isn’t it so much better to share something with someone by saying “I love it” rather than just the abstract “it’s a great film”? “It’s a great film because I love it”. (more…)