What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael | Local Spotlight


"Kicked in the ribs, the press says 'art' when 'ouch' would be more appropriate. . . . Movies are so rarely great art, that if we cannot appreciate great trash, we have very little reason to be interested in them." Formidable, contrarian, highly opinionated and frequently hilarious, Pauline Kael made her mark as the most important film writer of her generation. Born on a Petaluma chicken farm to Polish Jewish emigres, Kael rose from her humble career start as a single mother reading reviews on Berkeley public radio to eventually becoming the most powerful and contentious critic in the country at the New Yorker. Yet even at the height of her success, Kael remained a perennial outsider to American popular culture, with her own complicated relationship to mainstream values and tastes. This captivating and creative doc filled with superb film clips shows us how the things Kael had to say in her reviews were never just about the movies, but also about sexism and class conflict, happiness and alienation, the hidden traps of American life and the seductions of celebrity and money. Featuring interviews with the exact people we want to hear talking about Kael (Paul Schrader, Molly Haskell, Kael's daughter Gina James and surprising home movie footage shot by Stan Brakhage), this endlessly entertaining portrait is as witty, sharp and complicated as its magnetic subject. - Tien-Tien L. Jong

Rob is a New York-based filmmaker who has written, produced, and directed severalshort films that have been screened in local New York cinemas, and aired on cabletelevision. Films include: Comic Belief, a documentary profile of cartoonist Dan Piraro, The Man In The Yellow Cap, and Two Roads From Belfast, Maine - a short narrative that has aired on the Classic Arts Showcase cable network. He graduated from Northwestern University. 

panel & conversation
Sunday, July 28 | 1:45 PM
Spark Arts | 4229 18th Street, San Francisco

Jewish FederationThis event is the first of a continuing series. HerStory programs are generously supported by the San Francisco Jewish Women's Fund, a program of the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

Head on over to Spark Arts Gallery following the film, and join in the post-film conversation on feminism and film criticism. How do issues of equity and inclusion impact the field? Is the film industry leading the charge for change? 

RSVP For HerStory - Following the Art of Pauline Kael

Confirmed Panelists Meredith Brody Betsy Bozdech, Faridah Gbadamosi, & Ruthe Stein. Facilitated by Karen Davis.

karenKaren Davis is Senior Film Programmer for the Mill Valley Film Festival and Professor Emerita of Cinematic Arts at California State University, Monterey Bay. She is a recipient of two Fulbright awards for creative scholarship activity in Paris at the French National Film Academy (FEMIS) and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant for her work in film and digital media. She has taught at Vassar College, UC Santa Cruz and at the University of California at Davis.  Her scholarly work has appeared in the journals "World Art", "Afterimage", and other publications. 

BetsyBetsy Bozdech is the executive editor of ratings and reviews at Common Sense Media, where she has worked since 2006. Her online editorial career also includes stints at BabyCenter.com, Reel.com, Emode.com, AOL's Digital City, and Netflix. While at Common Sense, Betsy has spoken at international conferences, served as a film festival panelist and juror, interviewed filmmakers and actors, and much more. She has bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and is a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and a lifelong movie fan.

M BrodyMeredith Brody, a lifelong cinephile, has worked in many aspects of the film business. While still in film school, she worked for Bertrand Tavernier and Pierre Rissient's advertising firm, as well as for Filmex, the first Los Angeles film festival. After graduating from film school at the University of Southern California, she served as a development executive for several independent film companies and for Columbia Pictures. Her award-winning writings on film and other subjects have appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, and LA Weekly. She currently writes for the websites Indiewire, RogerEbert.com, and EatDrinkFilms.


Faridah is a freelance writer from New York City. Her favorite topics include pop culture, social media, intersectionalism, independent film and Korea dramas. If she had to make a list of movies to watch on her last day on Earth the list would include (but be not limited to) Black Orpheus, Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, and The Beauty Inside, which she feels sums her up pretty well. 


Ruthe Stein is the movie correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle. She has covered the film industry for the Chronicle for 20 years, writing reviews, celebrity profiles and industry trend stories. She regularly covered the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the Academy Awards. In 2009 she created the Mostly British Film Festival in San Francisco, a celebration of cinema from the UK and beyond. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from Northwestern University. 

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Rob Garver