Andrew Sarris, who popularized the auteur theory and was called the "dean of American film critics," died on Wednesday. He was 83. Fresh Air remembers the longtime film critic for The Village Voice with excerpts from a 1990 interview.
This interview was originally broadcast on August 8, 1990.
Sarris reviews movies for several newspapers and teaches at Columbia University. In the 1960s, he pushed forth the auteur theory, which said that films could best be understood by the director's singular vision within the context of their full body of work. Now, he often finds genre films more interesting than mainstream movies that explore important ideas.
The writer has a new book called Take 22, which features interviews with notable filmmakers. She says her critical approach has become more populist in recent years. She has also grown more interested in learning about a director's intent, which she takes into consideration when gauging a film's success or failure.