Charlie Kaufman, Mark Kermode, and when filmmakers and critics clash

Once upon a time, UK critic Mark Kermode reviewed Eternal Sunshine and really liked it. Then he reviewed Synecdoche, New York and liked it less.

When Anomalisa came out and didn't win the Oscar, Kermode and co-host Simon Mayo interviewed Charlie and Duke Johnson on Radio Five Live, kicking things off with a bunch of questions about Pixar films (who did win the Oscar).

The interview was a little awks.

Then Antkind came out, and in this 700 page book there is one gag about Kermode. Kaufman has stated several times that Antkind is, in part, a comment on the usually one-sided relationship artists have with critics.

Kermode has mentioned this gag on Twitter a couple of times in the last few weeks.

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Simon Brew at Film Stories has a decent write-up on this whole Kermode-Kaufman thing, which is worth checking out if you are interested in such dramas.

What I didn’t appreciate until I went behind the scenes of that programme earlier this year and asked about it was that words had been spoken just before the show went on air. That in the seconds before the show was going out live across the UK, Kaufman had spoken to Kermode, taking issue with a previous review (presumably for Synecdoche, New York). Then, suddenly, the news bulletin ended and a notoriously frosty interview ensued.

[...] What I’d suggest it goes to is the simmering that feels ever-present under the surface of criticism, the biting of lips on both sides of the critical divide, and the fact that human beings are human beings. In this particular case, Charlie Kaufman has the platform and resources to get his word out, and has chosen to use it. Kermode is in a position to take it, even though he may not want to or feel it fair. But the world is such that on we go, and social media will look elsewhere for its scalps tomorrow. (Source)

I do not mind that there is a Mick Burger on page 9.



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