VERNON YOKING ON FILM by Vernon Young

VERNON YOKING ON FILM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Young is a bona fide critic, as opposed to a mere reviewer, and for most of the 20 years these essays represent, a loose arrangement with the Hudson Review protected his integrity from commercial impingements. If this alone isn't enough to repulse the ordinary movie-going slob, there is a thesis lurking -- that as all art is ""a game played by ethnic rules,"" the very immediacy of film makes it particularly subject to misunderstandings and the best films are those that genuinely ""give imaginative access to worlds not our own."" Young has admittedly pursued this idea in an ""unsystematic and insolent manner"" and often enough the concern with cultural sources and contexts boils down to a matching game -- French films tend to demonstrate that congenital French wit, Swedish films are predictably suicide-prone, and given the Japanese ""cult of precision"" any director who appears casual is probably incompetent. Adapted to close work, the method leads him to pan Intolerance for emblemizing crasser American tendencies and praise Reflections in a Golden Eye as having profound ambiguities in common with Hawthorne, Melville, et al. But further afield too, as in his review of Olympia, he does not always probe as deeply as we might like into the hows and whys of the imaginative access given. This is not to be read for utility, and its pleasures have to be won from a style almost as heavy as the book.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1972
Publisher: Quadrangle