I was honored to speak with Srikanth Srinivasan - a man behind “The 7th Art” website. We have featured part of his brilliant essay on Resnais’ “Last year in Marienbad” in the previous post. Now, it’s time to talk with the Critic himself.
Clint: If you could ask any director one question about a film, what would it be?
Srikanth: As of now, I want to ask Spielberg what REALLY motivated him to make Schindler’s List.
Clint: I know you consider yourself a hobbyist. Are there any “professional” film critics you follow and admire?
Srikanth: I’ve started reading criticism only recently. I absolutely love David Bordwell’s ever-surprising and ever-informatice articles, Jim Emerson’s seemingly-effortless analyses, Ed Howard’s brilliant, no-nonsense reviews and Acquarello’s extremely dense and insightful capsules.
Clint: Best and worst film sequel ever?
Srikanth: Off the top of my head. Greatest: The Godafather Part II (Coppola) Worst: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Spielberg).
Clint: The only rating you have given to a film that I fail to understand is four starts (out of four) for E.T. Do you hold a special spot for S. Spielberg as his “Jaws” also got maximum rating?
Srikanth: Spielberg was the director who really attracted me at the movies in my earliest days of film watching. Watching a lot of B-movies on cable television, each one of Spielberg’s movies - Jaws, Raiders, Close Encounters, Schindler’s List, E.T and Jurassic Park - came to me as a revelation. However, today, I find most of these movies heavily flawed, even though the exhilarating experience remains.
Clint: This is interesting - I find that most critics have some kind of film “sweet spot” which is mostly films that brought them into the scene or films that helped them to understand the media. They also tend to rate them slightly higher which might be even subconscious action.
Srikanth: Yes, Pixar, Spielberg and Chaplin are my sweet-spots, although not always in understanding the medium.
Clint: Best political film?
Srikanth: Tricky. Almost every film is political, in a way. But if it is in the strictest sense, my pick may just be The Grin without a Cat (Marker).
Clint: The other day I was thinking what would be my answer. After some difficult thoughts I picked “JFK”.
Srikanth: Haven’t seen JFK, unfortunately…
Clint: Given the fact that most of the critics just loved “No Country For Old Men”, your rating of two and a half stars seems curious. What did the film lacked to get into your heart?
Srikanth: What I felt about NCFOM was that it was trying to dress itself up using, as Bordwell says, “intentional ambiguity” to project itself as a movie deeper than it actually is. Having said that, it is also the one movie (perhaps with the exception of Van Sant’s Elephant) that I would like to revisit for a second opinion.
Clint: If you are in a cinema watching a film that is boring, would you rather sit trough or leave?
Srikanth: I would never leave a cinema hall even if I find the movie utterly “boring” because being bored could well be one of the reactions that the movie is supposed to provoke. All that matters is how the whole thing pans out.
Thank you for your time, Srikanth!