“‘He was a rare man, a gentleman,’ is how Daniel Day Lewis began his tribute to Irish Times film critic Michael Dwyer, whose funeral took place at the Church of the Holy Name in Ranelagh this morning.

ceremonial tribute to recently deceased film critic Michael Dwyer.

“Speaking to a packed church of relatives, friends, colleagues and members of Ireland’s film community, Day Lewis described Dwyer, whom he had known for over 20 years, as ‘gentle, modest and kind.’ He also praised his enthusiasm for film and his ability to remain compassionate even in criticism. ‘He was never cruel, ever, nor was he self-serving.’

“Day Lewis also made reference to Dwyer’s strong connection with the Dublin Film Festival, which the film correspondent had co-founded and which went on to become the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. ‘I have nothing against whiskey, but I would love to think that from now on that festival could be renamed after him.'” — from Fionna McCann‘s 12.5 story in the Irish Times, posted a couple of hours ago.

Who was DDL alluding to when he said Dwyer was never “cruel”? Every critic has to be be able to call a spade a brutal spade, which lily-livered types would call “cruel.” Words of praise mean nothing if you spread them around too liberally, and if you can’t be merciless with the mediocre. And a critic never lived who didn’t know about tooting his or her horn.

When it comes time for my wake I would be content if someone said, “He loved film like nothing or no one else except for his sons, and he was appropriately damning and cruel when it came to dismissing the slovenly masses who poured hundreds of millions into the coffers of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich, and ignored Juan Antonio Bayona and Steven Soderbergh‘s Che.”