Alex Grant on On
Freedom Of Speech
Annual Vancouver International Film Festival.
The final word on the VIFF festival
One of the principal causes of our citys blasé, know-nothing
indulgence of mediocre, coasting-on-empty cultural high lights
such as VIFF 21 is the ongoing, fat-cat relentless concentrated ownership
of the print and broadcast media.
As would-be global corporations like Izzy Aspers Can-West
which owns almost all of the important print outlets
in the Lower Mainland get deeper into debt due to overweeningly
ambitious takeovers they rely increasingly for free
copy upon any and all festival events simply to fill up space and airtime.
They also commonly hire young reporters as low paid reviewers, whose sophistication
is paper-thin to push these skin-deep events. Aspers
Winnipeg based Can-West took over Conrad Blacks Chicago based
Hollinger newspaper empire at humungous financial risk and within weeks
reduced its national daily The National Post in size and coverage,
especially of The Arts, and simutaneously increased its price.
Less for more which has become the byword of this execrable, propagandistic
empire totally pro the Federal Liberals and the State of Israel
and providing calamitous coverage of these matters.
More crucially, for all his faults as an extreme right-wing rabble-rouser,
Conrad Black at least would consent to publish corrections of the factual
errors in The Post. Errors very commonly to be found in the wearying
middle-brow and ill-considered writings of Chicago-based film maven Roger
Ebert. A flack in the employ also of The Disney Corporation whose relationship
with the film industry is too cosy. Being a part of the system Ebert,
whose judgement palls every day, is a part of the problem. And he is hopelessly
square, endorsing films without a trace of style content or originality.
The Thomson chains Globe & Mail national daily also will
brook no criticism of its film reviewers, even though one is utterly condescending
to both movies and moviegoers and the other is notorious for inept plot
synopses and the attribution of cast members to characters [just see his
preposterous review of RED PLANET for a confused account of a simple genre
Try getting a correction for a factual error in The Globe
good luck with such an enterprise!
The Vancouver Suns editorial board is no less adamantine
in failing to admit to faulty reporting. Freedom of speech for the reader
is a grossly misunderstood concept in Canada. Even the most egregious
lapses in knowledge by its writers are overlooked,
Everyone has a right to their opinions, of course, but nobody has the
right to strut their incompetence and to deliver misinformation, surely,,,
Such a sans-faire-rien [who cares] attitude in current journalism is so
pervasive that events lacking in rigour and astuteness such as VIFF 21
are treated as though they were The Second Coming of Christ - awesome,dude!
Above and beyond criticism of any kind. After all they provide cannon
fodder for the raw recruits at the reviews desk.
When mediocrity is indulged, our tax-supported cultural do-gooders and
High Pooh-Bahs feel wholly entitled to carry on regardless with their
lazy arrogant antics, squandering the public purse.
When not a soul cares about quality, when art is utterly confused with
trendiness and the passing fancies of a jejeune public, trained by the
media to prefer air-headed capricious know-nothingness, is anyone surprised?
Just spend a half-hour listening to the wannabe filmmakers and pseuds
chatting in the VIFF 21 queues and in the auditoria before the film and
you will be shocked by the pig-ignorance of many as to the virtues of
classic cinema. Penny-pinching, propagandistic media plus mediocrity dished
out by our culture purveyors - what an unholy alliance between vapidity
These selfsame people who allegedly care about the medium of cinema have
no excuse for their vapid views, when video-DVD culture beckons cheaply
and scads of scholarly film books proliferate as do lively monthly film
journals and magazines.
Yet established reviewers often fail to do their homework or research
and pass one rubbishy data. E.G. The Sun stated months ago that
Texan author Patricia Highsmith, the creator of the Tom Ripley
novels was British. They never corrected this ludicrous suggestion. Also
months ago the aforesaid Roger Ebert utterly confused the trio of John
Wayne- Howard Hawks westerns RIO BRAVO ELDORADO and RIO LOBO in The
National Post. No staff member caught this typical lapse,
With media leadership marked indelibly by such a dire lack
of care and concern small wonder that amateurish self-glorifying and self-perpetuating
festival events such as VIFF 21 blithely pursue inexorable mediocrity.
© Alex Grant - October 9th 2002
Disagree with Alex.
Well debate him in person mornings at his 'office' on W10th, the coffee's
hot and a crowd welcome follow the 'Bean'.
Film Festival Report
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