We can rely on Cinema Politica to bring us interesting documentaries throughout the school year. Tonight’s selection is Regarding Susan Sontag. Sontag was once one of the more visible intellectuals in the U.S.
I haven’t seen the film, but I certainly want to, based on several very enthusiastic reviews that I found. How often is a documentary film reviewed by newspapers, and Vogue and The Economist? Interesting company!
Nathan Heller in Vogue: “She saw writing as a personal act that bore global responsibility. ‘I didn’t feel that I was expressing myself,’ she’s quoted as saying in Regarding Susan Sontag. . . ‘I felt that I was taking part in a noble activity.’ ”
In Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, Ken Eisner writes:
“this (film) should be seen by anyone with an interest in language and history.”
He also says that it “looks at how the great essayist (and not-so-great novelist) was viewed before the role of public intellectual became obsolete.”
But, but. . . don’t we still need “public intellectuals?” What do you think? On with info about the film.
Robert Lloyd In The Los Angeles Times: “Sontag’s best writing gives one permission to see things in a new way — or makes it impossible to continue to see them in the old one.” “Among American intellectuals, she was the rare rock star, and though her work stands on its own with allowance made for any writer’s ups and downs, her personal magnetism is very much part of the story; she was a thinking person’s pinup, friendly and formidable, impish and intense, bright-eyed, wide-smiled, with a head of hair that amounted almost to a signature.”
J. Bryan Lowder in Slate: “Ten years after her death, Sontag’s supreme writerly confidence remains both an inspiration and a terror to would-be critics and public intellectuals, and for good reason—she was the embodiment of a certain school of serious, morally committed, iconoclastic, and often deliciously haughty 20th-century criticism.” “. . .what this film provides, is an honest introduction to the person—in this case, a person who comprised qualities both deeply admirable and terribly off-putting in equal measure. Watching Regarding Susan Sontag, I felt awash in that person, carried aloft on the waves of her exquisite curiosities and pulled by the undertow of her messy personal life, suspended in the trough between the figure she wanted to be and the human being she was. . . I thoroughly enjoyed Kates’ attempt to do justice to that package—the whole package—sex, uncertainty, hubris, and brilliance, all mixed up together.”
BTW: Lowder’s review reveals that there is such a things as a master’s degree in criticism. Go ahead, call me naive, but I had no idea! Learn something everyday!
More details about this screening and Cinema Politica can be found on the Cinema Politica web site. According to the web site the “screening will be followed by a Skype Q&A with director Nancy Kates. Venue is wheelchair accessible.”
REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG, directed by Nancy Kates, / United States / 2014 / 100 ‘ / in English
Monday, March 30, 7 p.m.
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd., W., H-110
Admission: Pay what you can – $5 to $10 are suggested amounts.