Pauline Kael, known for her bitingly opinionated film reviews, wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968-1991. She boldly championedfilms that others considered critical failures, such as The Warriors and Last Tango in Paris, while condemning other popular films such as It’s a Wonderful Life, West Side Story, and Shoah. She had a taste for the unconventional, the anti-hero, and disliked films that appealed superficially to conventional attitudes or used unnecessary brutal imagery. She is often regarded as the most influential film critic of her day.
"At the movies, we are gradually being conditioned to accept violence as a sensual pleasure. The directors used to say they were showing us its real face and how ugly it was in order to sensitize us to its horrors. You don't have to be very keen to see that they are now in fact de-sensitizing us. They are saying that everyone is brutal, and the heroes must be as brutal as the villains or they turn into fools. There seems to be an assumption that if you're offended by movie brutality, you are somehow playing into the hands of the people who want censorship. But this would deny those of us who don't believe in censorship the use of the only counterbalance: the freedom of the press to say that there's anything conceivably damaging in these films — the freedom to analyze their implications. If we don't use this critical freedom, we are implicitly saying that no brutality is too much for us — that only squares and people who believe in censorship are concerned with brutality."
— Pauline Kael on A Clockwork Orange.
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