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Kent Moves On


IndieWire has some news concerning our colleague Kent Jones, who left his position at the Film Society of Lincoln Center yesterday.

41 comments to Kent Moves On

  • Damn. Well, I’m not sure how Kent feels about this, but I’m certain it’s a bad thing for the rest of us New Yorkers.

    Soon there will be no movies in Manhattan, at all, in any form, unless they have superheroes or Will Ferrell in them.

  • I read all these film community announcements from the past year with gut-wrenching horror.
    My country’s film culture is being destroyed, right in front of our eyes.
    I wrack my brains, a lot, trying to figure out what I can do to make US culture better. And try to educate the public through my (non-commercial) website.
    What else should we be doing?

    My condolences to Kent Smith, who has contributed so much to us all.

  • That’s Kent Jones.
    I’m sorry, I’m upset!

  • Can my posts be deleted?
    I should never try to write while upset.
    I can’t write straight.

  • Kent Jones

    Greetings from Vienna.

    Don’t feel bad, Mike. I’m actually here to show my Lewton doc, so it’s fitting that you managed to mention Kent Smith.

    I do want to make it clear that I resigned, and wasn’t forced out or anything like that. And you’ll continue to see good programming at the Walter Reade.

  • Thank you, Kent Jones!
    I admire your work very much.

  • edo

    Good luck on whatever you’ve got planned now, Kent!

    Are you staying on as editor-at-large for Film Comment in any event?

  • Alex Hicks

    Onward and upward, Kent!

  • michaelgsmith

    Should I bother renewing my Film Comment subscription when it runs out this summer?

    Good luck with your future projects, Kent, whatever they might be. I hope you’ll maintain a high profile within the cinephile community. I’ve learned so much from you via FC, this site and Physical Evidence.

  • Robert Chatain

    Bad news for film buffs — but Kent, good luck on everything to come.

    As for the Mara Manus comment “Change is unsettling for everyone,” that sounds like typical management noise for the record. Now that Lincoln Center has a sexy new Alice Tully hall, they’ll be busy cutting staff to pay for it.

  • I updated my own blog post to reflect this, Michael G. Smith, but the word ought to be reiterated here: Kent will continue to be a part of Film Comment. Renew that subscription, by all means.

  • Paul

    The response from Mara Manus is to be expected, and perhaps someone there or on the board will figure out that this situation is not good for the organization as a whole.

    But what is much more dispiriting is to read the boilerplate management/PR-speak from Richard Pena. So transparently meaningless in the assurances he offers when he should be expected to know what is being said about the tumultuous state of affairs. He responds, “People shouldn’t be worried.” He offers not even one reason or explanation to counter or engage with the reporting that has given a very different version of the FSLC –many employees’ beaten-down morale and state of despondency. Basically he goes to bat for the new heads and says “take my word for it” and ventriloquizes about core principles. Of course, he’s not accountable to us, but one would expect such a figure to suppress such evident disdain in his address to a public.

    I would suggest the last thing anyone should do is abandon Film Comment. It’s still the most valuable thing the Film Society has to offer, and it’s like the black sheep in the organization, which would much rather have a piece of pure non-profit PR literature than an actual publication with integrity that prints critical writing and thoughtful appreciations. Because of this, the Film Society already gives it pitiful resources on the relative scale of things.

    From all appearances, Manus and the overarching new “vision” presiding at the Film Society knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    Another question is whether Kent Jones will still be on the selection committee for this year’s New York Film Festival.

  • Michael Dempsey

    Your Val Lewton documentary is outstanding, and it’s great that both the film and its subject are receiving international attention, too.

    Here’s hoping that many future opportunities and the necessary resources to do this and any other work that’s on your agenda will swiftly come your way.

  • steve elworth

    Kent thank you so much for your programming, your criticism and of course your comments on this very site. Good luck to your future and let’s hope that the Walter Reade will continue a significant presence along with MOMA, film Forum and AFA.

  • Junko Yasutani

    Kent, I hope you are well in Vienna and come back to something good in America.

  • nicolas saada

    my post had a link of Dean Martin as Matt Helm shouting “I’ll go to Acapulco!”. Kent contribution to my education in film is infinte: he keeps introducing me to works which have been completely forgotten here in france. Thanks to kent, DODSWORTH has become of one of my favorite films of all time.

  • Alex Hicks

    For all you shameless lit(or is it pulp?) fans of James M. Cain, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and Postman Always Rings Twice are on in sequence tonight on TCM, starting at 8:00 EDT.

    Any hope, from time to time, Canal+ Cinéma, Kent?

  • Tom Brueggemann

    Another TV note – Charles Burnett’s latest film, “Relative Strangers” is being premiered on the Hallmark Channel tomorrow night at 9 EDT/PDT.

    It sounds like a work-for-hire.

    The Variety review, written by its lead TV critic, doesn’t even mention Burnett or make any reference to his being of any significance.

  • Tony Williams

    Kent, Sorry to hear about this but I hope you find something where your talents are really appreciated.

  • Richard Suchenski


    Let me add my voice to the chorus here. Your programing has always been the highlight of the Film Society of Lincoln Center calendar and your presence will be sorely missed. On the bright side, I hope that this will indeed give you more time to write and to make first-rate documentaries like the Lewton one.

  • Kent Jones


    Thank you, everyone. I wanted to say a couple of things. I didn’t feel unappreciated at FSLC and don’t want to leave anyone with the impression that I did. I will no longer be on the Film Festival selection committee, but I have no plans to stop writing for Film Comment. I have no doubt that the Walter Reade will continue to be a significant presence – Richard and Marian and Gavin will see to that.

    Junko, my friend Alex Horwath, who invited me and my film to Vienna (and who is showing many other Lewton films, including a beautful print of CAT PEOPLE from the NFT which I saw last night), tells me that Mark Webber is in town. Mark organized the package of Owen Land films that made the rounds a few years ago, and I take it that he’s also been involved with showing Christopher MacLaine’s movies. Apparently, he’s now compiling an oral history of the New American Cinema.

    Somehow, MacLaine’s films had eluded me over the years. I read Brakhage’s extremely touching chapter on him in FILM AT WIT’S END. It got me thinking that someone should do a San Francisco film project. This also crossed my mind when I took another look at THE GAME by Fincher, a movie I like much more now than I did when I first saw it, and it seems very true to the city as I’ve experienced it.

  • Caught Burnett’s latest. On first viewing it’s a well-acted, reasonably well scripted Hallmark movie. Can’t see much in it to mark it as a Burnett work, beyond the intimate moments between characters (which are really well done–but I don’t see enough Hallmark movies to know if it’s better than the usual material found on this channel). The sibling rivalry and family conflicts does remind one of My Brother’s Wedding and (distantly) To Sleep with Anger.

  • edo

    Was this “Relative Stranger”? I think he has a couple new projects, though IMDB only lists that one and “Namibia” from a couple years ago.

    Apropos your reactions, I do think Burnett has two modes of address, one of which is broadly speaking more conventional, and definitely more populist (Nightjohn, Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation), than the other, which is stooped in folk tradition and concomitantly structured.

  • Tom Brueggemann

    More cable creativity: HBO is repeating the first 4 episodes of its half hour ex-baseball star returns home comedy Earthbound and Down – and David Gordon Green directed the 2nd-4th episodes. Weirdly, he is not a producer, did not create the show, and is coming off a good sized commercial hit, so I have no idea why he is doing something like this.

  • vadim

    Green and McBride both went to the North Carolina School of the Arts; McBride’s a second-unit director on GEORGE WASHINGTON and acted in ALL THE REAL GIRLS. I think Jody Hill goes back with them too. Green is nothing if not loyal.

  • Tom Brueggemann

    Figured it was likely something like that…

  • Alex Hicks

    Where “The Game” is evocative, can the “The Lady from Shanghai” be far off?

  • Kent Jones

    Alex, what do you mean? What I meant was that THE GAME aligns with San Francisco as I remember it. There’s a long list of great and/or memorable films based there. The Welles is one of them. Along with THE LINE-UP, THE END, THE WHITE ROSE, DIRTY HARRY, VERTIGO and ZODIAC.

  • Junko Yasutani

    ‘Mark Webber is in town. Mark organized the package of Owen Land films that made the rounds a few years ago, and I take it that he’s also been involved with showing Christopher MacLaine’s movies.’

    That is good to know. More people can see his movies and then there will be the wider appreciation.

    About San Francisco movies, beside one’s mentioned, can be added THE GREAT BLONDINO with Beat poets from North Beach, also FLOWER THIEF. One kaiju movie for San Francisco, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA. Many films noir movie mentioned, but also D.O.A. and DARK PASSAGE.

  • Alex Hicks

    Sorry, Kent, for misreading your reference to “The Game” out of context of threat and as an evocation of a world of machinatioins rather than of a place and its sights.

  • Take care and good luck in all yr future endeavors Kent.

  • jbryant

    The title of that HBO series is actually EASTbound and Down. Green’s commercial hit that Tom refers to is of course Pineapple Express, which co-stars McBride. If I’m not mistaken, McBride was instrumental in Green coming aboard that project, for the reasons vadim mentioned.

    Hill and McBride’s The Foot Fist Way is a fascinating achievement. Purportedly filmed in less than 3 weeks for about $70,000, it’s an off-center, character-based comedy of embarrassment a la The Office (not a mockumentary, though it’s shot like one). It’s no laugh-out-loud jokefest, but McBride is some kind of brilliant as a small-town Tae Kwon Do instructor who is oblivious to his own idiotic and inappropriate behavior. I hope to see Eastbound and Down at some point.

  • Kent Jones

    junko, Wise made two interesting San Francisco movies, BORN TO KILL and THE HOUSE ON TELEGRAPH HILL. And there are Nick Dorsky’s films, GREED, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, PETULIA, THE KILLER ELITE, and so on.

    Thanks Kevin.

  • Tom Brueggemann

    Eastbound & Down also involves Will Farrell, who appeared in at least one of the Green directed episodes. One suspects the two of them might be working together more in the future.

  • Richard Suchenski


    There’s actually a whole tradition of San Francisco-based experimental filmmaking (it’s no coincidence Canyon Cinema is located there). In addition to Dorsky’s films and The End, there are the films Sidney Peterson made in the late ’40s and a number of works by Ernie Gehr, especially the found-footage film Eureka and the sublime Side/Walk/Shuttle. There are certainly a lot of rich SF-related films of all kinds to work with and I think it would be an interesting project.

  • Stephen Bowie

    Is that a frame grab of Kent Smith added to the top of the post now? Brilliant.

  • Tony Williams

    I never knew Kent looked that good but he does remind me of someone.

  • Kent Jones

    When I was in Vienna, I introduced CAT PEOPLE and CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE and saw THE SEVENTH VICTIM – three beautiful prints from the NFT. Playing to pretty packed houses, too. Anyway, between the two CAT movies and my own film, lots of Kent Smith.

  • Shawn Stone

    I love the crazy settings in PETULIA–the all night supermarket, the identical houses on the hill, that weird lift down to Petulia’s house, along with the familiar San Francisco locales, like that old Armory that’s also in POINT BLANK.

  • San Francisco always had a lively film scene, certainly in the period following World War II: Sidney Peterson, James Broughton, Frank Stauffacher, Christopher MacLaine, Bruce Conner, soon followed by Bruce Baillie, Chick Strand, Robert Nelson, Gunvor Nelson, and many more. There was a great cross-fertilization between filmmakers and the poets/painters/dancers in the area (Anna Halprin and her dance company appear in many of the films of Broughton and Peterson, etc.). Initially, it was called the “Art in Cinema” movement, and then there was the founding of the Canyon Cinema Coop in the early 1960s, but San Francisco was always one of the centers of experimental filmmaking in the US, and that hasn’t changed. (Warren Sonbert grew up in San Francisco, and returned to SF after his sojourn in New York in the mid-1960s; Ernie Gehr started teaching in SF in the 1970s; people like Nathaniel Dorsky continue to live and work there.)