Since the late 1940s, this highly opinionated, controversial art and film critic has written for such cultural arbiters as "Cavalier", "Art Forum", Francis Ford Coppola's "City", "Film Culture" and "T...
In a surprising move, the members of the New York Film Critics Circle, an association of film reviewers from major Manhattan-based newspapers and magazines, selected "Topsy-Turvy" as the Best Picture of 1999.
Part biopic, part backstage drama, "Topsy-Turvy" is an opulent motion picture that focuses on the prickly relationship between librettist William Schwenk Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan. Mike Leigh was selected as Best Director for the same film, which now becomes poised with "American Beauty" (selected by the National Board of Review), "Three Kings" (the Boston Critics' choice) and "The Insider" (the L.A. Film Critics Association winner) as frontrunners in the upcoming Oscar race.
The top acting honors were awarded to two performers who portrayed real-life figures. Veteran Richard Farnsworth was named Best Actor for his turn as Alvin Straight, a man who rode a tractor several hundred miles across the Midwest in order to reunite with his estranged brother, in "The Straight Story," directed by David Lynch. Hilary Swank was cited as Best Actress for her superlative portrayal of Teena Brandon, a Nebraska woman who lived her short adult life as a man, in "Boy's Don't Cry."
The quirky, highly original comedy "Being John Malkovich" earned three awards: Best Supporting Actor for John Malkovich (for playing a character based on himself), Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Keener and Best First Film for director Spike Jonze.
For the first time in its 65-year history, the Circle voted to present a prize for Best Animated Film, bestowing the honors to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the uproarious and irreverent "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut." As Circle Chairman Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly explained, "You could almost say that this award category created itself. There has been such an increase in animated features targeted at adults as well as children, that as critics we felt we had to recognize superior achievement in the field."
"All About My Mother," directed by Pedro Almodovar, was selected as the Best Foreign Language Film, marking a clean sweep in all the critics' prizes presented to date.
Other award presented by the New York Film Critics Circle include Best Cinematography to Freddie Francis' lensing of "The Straight Story," Best Non-Fiction Film to "Buena Vista Social Club" and Best Screenplay to Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor for the little-seen "Election." A special award for distinguished achievement in film criticism was bestowed on Manny Farber.
Gleiberman and Vice-Chairman David Sterrit of The Christian Science Monitor made the announcement of the awards. The annual presentation of the awards will be held at a dinner at New York City's Windows on the World at the World Trade Center on Jan. 9.
Taught at University of California (San Diego) and wrote for "City"
Had showings of his artwork in New York in 1980s
Moved to New York late 1930s
Worked as carpenter
Married painter Patricia Patterson
Wrote three major essays on film and art, 1950s (coined term "underground film" 1957)
Wrote for "The New Leader"
Wrote reviews for "Cavalier"
Worked as critic for "Art Forum"
Film critic for "The New Republic"
Since the late 1940s, this highly opinionated, controversial art and film critic has written for such cultural arbiters as "Cavalier", "Art Forum", Francis Ford Coppola's "City", "Film Culture" and "The Village Voice". It was in the 1950s that Farber wrote the three essays which were to make his name: "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" (for "Film Culture"), "Underground Films" and "Hard Sell Cinema".
Born in Arizona (just one mile north of Mexico), Farber worked as a carpenter before moving to New York in the late 1930s and starting his new career with a job writing for "The New Leader". He continued working as a film and art critic through the 1980s, praising such neglected directors as Howard Hawks, Raoul Walsh and William Wellman, and espousing his sometimes disputed (and often impenetrable) views on modern art and films. "Cinema" described his style as an "off-on, pos-neg, good-bad jolting around the once-linear American language". Farber--it is claimed--coined the term "underground film" in 1957.
When Farber met artist Patricia Patterson in 1966, his interest in art expanded from criticism to actual creation (he and Patterson wed in 1975). Farber's paintings have been shown several times in New York, as well as in the film "Routine Pleasures" (directed by Jean-Pierre Gorin).
"Movies have always been suspiciously addicted to termite art tendences. Good work usually arises where the creators (Laurel and Hardy, the team of Howard Hawkes and William Faulkner operating on the first half of Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep") seem to have no ambitions toward gilt culture, but are involved in a kind of squandering-beaverish endeavor that isn't anywhere or for anything. A peculiar fact about the termite-and-tapeworm-fungus-moss art is that it always goes forward eating its own boundaries and likely as not, leaves nothing in its path other than signs of eager industrious umkempt activity." --Manny Farber in a 1962 article in Film Culture.
"An exemplar of white elephant art, particularly the critic-devouring virtue filling every pore of a work with glinting darting style and creative vivacity, is Francois Truffaut." --Manny Farber in a 1962 article in Film Culture.
"An impossibly eccentric movie critic whose salvos have a disturbing tendency to land on target." --Dwight MacDonald in Variety, March 10, 1971.