Imagine if N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott were to start up again with those “Critics Picks” YouTube essays that he was narrating…oh, eight or ten years ago. And then watch this adoring four minute and 19-second essay that he did on Roman Polanski‘s Rosemary’s Baby.
And then imagine that Scott never wrote it and Gabe Johnson never produced it. Do you understand that Scott and Johnson would never compose such a piece today? Because the political climate at the N.Y. Times and throughout wokester culture (which Scott subscribes to body and soul) wouldn’t allow for a favorable Polanski tribute because of the #MeToo vendetta against the 78 year-old director.
If Scott was for some reason ordered by his eccentric editors to re-assess Rosemary’s Baby in a video-essay format, he would adopt an entirely different tack — trust me. Because at the end of the day, all film criticism is political.
Cultures change and consciousness evolves, and this is where we are today — an artist’s unfortunate personal history (which I personally deplore in Polanski’s case) automatically and irrevocably cancels the artistic value of his or her films…period. The idea of judging a flawed but genius-level artist and his/her work on separate planes has been thrown out the window. “Polanski is evil” and so his latest film, J’Accuse, must be indefinitely shunned.
And I mean shunned…you can’t even buy an English-subtitled Bluray or rent a streaming version of same, and it’s easily among my top-five films of 2020. A brilliant investigative drama on the level of Z, a first-rate courtroom drama, a magnificent capturing of 1890s “belle epoque” Paris…crafted with absolute surgical genius…a meticulous, hugely engrossing reconstruction of the Dreyfus affair..a tale told lucidly, clue by clue, layer by layer.
It’s just tragic.