Paul Gardner - Writer, FilmmakerPaul Gardner | Writer | Filmmaker
Newspaper, Magazine features, reviews
My Night With Rohmer
By Paul Gardner. New York Magazine, Nov 8, 1976.

Eric Rohmer became the eminence grise of French filmmakers when he proved that talkiness was next to godliness. In a sleeper called My Night at Maud's, his Catholic hero sat up all night discussing Pascal with an Older Divorced Woman -- and there wasn't an exposed nipple in sight. Critics and film buffs got positively high on his metaphysics-without-sex.
Marxism, atheism, chastity, and moral scruples were further pondered by Rohmer's intellectualizing chatterboxes in Claire's Knee and Chloe in the Afternoon. Again, Rohmer made the denial of sex more erotic than its indulgence. A Swedish journalist who refused to swallow all that abstinence insisted that Rohmer had just devised a new French perversion.
I was living in France when Rohmer filmed La Collectionneuse (on a $60,000 truffle), so now, whenever I read interviews with the "austere ascetic," Rohmer, I recall with bemused nostalgia my own experiences with the "friends" of Maud, Claire and Chloe --- a hedonistic pack who surrounded the didactic director. I suggest that this sabbatarian has a flip side -- camouflaged by his Cartesian knowledge.
Richard Tuttle
Odd Man In by Paul Gardner

Known for tiny sculptures made from materials such as paper, rope, string and bubble wrap, Richard Tuttle has become hugely influential.  ARTnews, April 2004. 

Mass-media Confessional by Paul Gardner

Marguerite Duras, that ambiguous pixy of the French anti-novel, has been at it again -- this time confounding theatregoers here with her anti-play, L'Amante anglaise. As any attentive student of Duras might well realize, the lady has just about anything in mind except an English lover.The title is a deliberate misspelling. What she apparently means is la menthe anglaise or even en glaise.  Maybe. Mme. Duras, who can be too perverse for words, is now almost too perverse for theatre.

Anouilh Looks Back by Paul Gardner

The Paris theatre season suddenly stopped yawning and sprang to life rather auspiciously with Cher Antoine by Jean Anouilh, a playwright who has confronted those difficult years with a highly personal comedy. As always Anouilh's icy wit remains -- the wit that first gently pricks the surface and then, with a half-smile, becomes a dangerous stab. Here is his summing-up, his finale, a statement on his career, critics, the theatre, friends and what passes for love.

La Chamade by Paul Gardner
As the couple in Alain Cavalier's film, "La Chamade," Catherine Denueve and Michel Piccoli do not go in for rinky-dink games. I honestly wish they did something amusing.  They belong to the bored beautiful people set of Francoise Sagan, which means their malaise is so great they can barely get into their gleaming sports car and drive to discotheques. The movie's local interest interest centers on Deneuve's staggering wardrobe. The French always like to look at clothes.
La Voie Lactee by Paul Gardner
To usher in the Easter season, when even the most atheistic hearts may be induced to feign reverence, posters plastered across Paris announce the arrival of Luis Bunuel's film, La Voie lactee, a lethal history of Christianity in which Bunuel glides through the centuries like a bedevilled spirit dispersing his own interpretation -- black, deadly and comic -- of the Gospel. Bunuel is simply extinguishing the smoky incense that drugs rational thought in order to find some semblance of truth.  I don't believe he'll ever find it.

Neil Jenney, "The Bad Years 1969 - 70," by Paul Gardner. Catalogue essay by
Paul Gardner. Exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery, N.Y., 2001.
Neil Jenney 1960 to 1970 by Paul Gardner
   (Essay excerpt)
Personality is the starting point for everything. If someone lacks this individualizing essence, the artistic expression in any cultural pursuit is acrid and anonymous. There may be plenty of skill and a certain temperament, but you won't find a peculiar singularity. It is personality that puts an indelible stamp on paint, words, musical notes, and film. It becomes a kind of sign language into a person's soul, revealing and defining the work achieved through it. Neil Jenney reveals a personal art that instantly defines him.  You know who did it, you don't have to ask. His signature is unique.  With Jenney, the image is reality and the allegory here is almost as wistful as it is ironic.
Renaissance Men
by the Letter by Paul Gardner

Book review, "Remember Me to Harlem," A significant correspondence between poet-playwright Hughes and worldling -- critic-novelist-photographer -- Carl Van Vechten. The Langston Hughes & Carl Van Vechten Letters, ed. by Emily Bernard.  The Nation, July 2, 2001.
All content is copyright © 2010 Paul Gardner. All Rights Reserved.