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Published on Jun 16, 2011
Part 1: David Denby is a long-time film reviewer for The New Yorker and the author of the widely praised Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and other Indestructible Writers of the Western World (1997) as well as other titles. In this, the first of a two-part interview, Denby discusses film and the art of film reviewing. He explains how film festivals create a buzz about certain films and how this can be helpful to him in choosing films to review. He also expresses his interest in the current genre of low-budget films known as "mumblecore." In speaking of the 2009 hit Up in the Air, Denby notes how hard it is to get screwball and romantic comedy right, adding that filmmakers in the 1930s were better at it. Denby says he doesn't look for anything in particular when watching a movie, he just lets it hit him and in his reviews tries to evoke how the movie made him feel when he watched it.
Part 2: David Denby is a cultural critic and long-time film reviewer for The New Yorker. In this second part of a two-part interview, Denby shares his views on literature and education, and talks about his books, the widely praised Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf and other Indestructible Writers of the Western World (1997) as well as American Sucker (2004), and Snark (2009). Denby describes how at age 48 he returned to Columbia University to take two courses in literature that make up Columbia's core curriculum, an experience he first wrote about in an article for The New Yorker and which blossomed into his work, Great Books. Denby touches on Goethe's Faust and Conrad's Heart of Darkness and meditates on what is lost when reading a translation of Dante. With candor, Denby discusses his period of stock market addiction, which he chronicles in American Sucker. He then offers a sharp critique of the trendy but rough, cruel, rug-pulling abuse he dissects in his most recent book, Snark.