Daily Archives: May 7, 2018

Man Of Cinema: Pierre Rissient

From the Chicago Reader (September 28, 2007). The second photograph below is by Pamela Gentile. — J.R.


Sometimes the most powerful and influential people are protected by their relative obscurity, and it’s hard to think of a better illustration of this principle in the film world than the multifaceted, eccentric, controversial Pierre Rissient, whom I’ve known for 35 years. Among other achievements, he’s probably discovered more important filmmakers than anyone else I know — figures ranging from Cy Endfield to Lino Brocka to Jane Campion to Abbas Kiarostami. It takes most of Todd McCarthy’s well-used 110 minutes in this lively documentary to explain all the creative, behind-the-scene activities Rissient generates in relation to criticism, filmmaking, distribution, exhibition, and programming, and even though this is mainly the sympathetic view of a friend, the portrait is complex and nuanced. Among the many interviewees, Olivier Assayas is especially perceptive when he describes Rissient as being like a teenager. In English, French, and Mandarin with subtitles. (JR)

PG_Rissient-1 Read more

In defense of spoilers (2006 Reader blog post)

This was/is my first post for the Chicago Reader‘s film blog; there aren’t/weren’t any hyperlinks. This is reprinted in my collection, Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia.  — J.R.

In defense of spoilers

Tue, Nov 14, 2006 at 3:54 PM

Some people’s obsessive preoccupation with spoilers has been driving me batty lately. It isn’t only among moviegoers; many fiction readers are equally afflicted. Visiting a Thomas Pynchon chat room lately in conjunction with a recent prepublication reading of Against the Day, I find other Pynchon freaks breathlessly advising one another about whether they should read the short review of the novel that Time has already posted, which actually mentions — horrors! — one of the characters getting killed, something that happens, if I remember correctly, roughly a fifth of the way through this almost 1100-page novel. Percentage-wise, that’s about as far as you have to watch The Death of a President [see photo] before you witness the assassination that the title already announces. Honestly, does that spoil the movie for anybody?

Give me a break. Is this form of worry a fit activity for grown-ups?

My objections to spoiler-think are multiple, so I might as well set them down in a list:

1. Read more