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Film Criticism and The Role of Roger Ebert

by Donny Stock

Film critics are the professionals so loved and so hated by the public especially when it comes to blockbusters. We know that big box office and public opinion do not determine the quality of the film, ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013) is there to not let you lie. But at the end of the day, what really matters is what everyone thinks, so why is there a critic? For the on demand reviews you should know the followings.

The Birth of Criticism

For a historical introduction, criticism was born in Ancient Greece, around 1100 BC as a format of the opinion journalistic genre. Despite being born in Greece, his recognition of opinion journalism came only in the 18th century with the first magazines bringing cultural criticisms of theater, music and literature. Soon after, it was the turn of film critic to join the team. In the beginning, mainly in Brazil, magazines did not bring much criticism, and cinema was portrayed more from news and notes, and it was only in the 1980s, after the introduction of cinema courses at universities, that the role of critic won greater importance in the media.

The Functions That The Critics Offer

As few know, the main function of the critic is not only to criticize that popular film, much less to influence his trip to the cinema, but they are situations that become common, and it is not purposeful. Opinion and taste are subjective, so why can a bad review leave us discouraged or unwilling to go to the cinema? Well, that is not an easy thing to answer, if there was a concrete answer. We may even come to the conclusion that we are influenced by those who have greater technical knowledge than the general public, but when talking about Roger Ebert, we exclude that possibility.

Ebert was considered the greatest film critic

He was the only one to win the Pulitzer Prize with his reviews and his columns were published in more than 200 American newspapers, besides having published 15 books and earning a star on the Walk of Fame. Ebert brought a humanized view in his criticisms, and little technical, and always said that a good film should look new every time you watch it. Roger Ebert thought well and wrote well, but had no formal education in cinema, and even so, he made a difference in the medium. “Your head may be confused, but your emotions never lie,” he said.

Ebert can serve as a reference to current critics, especially those who stick to more formal and technical criticism. The public knows, that in the end, the emotion speaks louder, despite the lack of technique – or not. The critic does not lose his importance, his years of study and analysis show that his knowledge and technical vision are also important to influence his taste, and consequently, in the note of the film, but the public insists on pursuing them.

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