What critics and journalists have said
here for best printing of text
a torrent of essays, articles, and interviews, Ray Carney has
himself as one of America's most brilliant and merciless critics
of the American film establishment in all of its crass commercialism--from
the producers and directors who package "star vehicles" to maximize
profitability, to the distributors and exhibitors who see to it
the same ten titles play at every multiplex from coast to coast,
to the television, radio, and print journalists who...function as
extensions of the studio ad campaigns. His sharpest barbs, however,
have been reserved for the academic critics and university film
that give Hollywood the sheen of intellectual legitimacy by bringing
its celebrities into the classroom and its movies into the curriculum. We've
heard something similar from neoconservative image-phobes like Allan
Bloom, William Bennett, and Hilton Kramer, who equate the rise of
movies with the fall of Western civilization. What makes Carney's
critique entirely different is that his complaint is not that professors
take movies too seriously, but that they don't take them seriously
enough. In Carney's view, if they really cared about the art of
film, they wouldn't waste time functioning as trash collectors in
the pop culture ghetto."
cinematic Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, and Marshall McLuhan rolled into
one, Ray Carney is a combination consumer advocate, media scourge,
and film visionary who pulls no punches in his attacks on the American
filmmaking establishment and the critics and reviewers who support
it.... taking Hollywood's sacred cash cows to the slaughterhouse....
In a series of wide-ranging lectures and interviews, he has tirelessly
crusaded for off-Hollywood films and filmmakers.... When he is not
stumping for independent film, Carney is a prolific writer. He is
editor of the multivolume Cambridge Film Classics, and the author
of more than a hundred essays and [twelve] books of his own.... His
razor-sharp observations and insight [in previous issues] had our
readers buzzing for months."
is a professional academic (a Professor of Film and American Studies
at Boston University and Director of the Film Studies Program); a
much sought after speaker at film festivals and on the lecture circuit;
an author; a teacher who inspires passionate devotion among his students
(a young man sitting outside his office told me: "One course with
him is a college education in itself."); and a professional gadfly
everywhere he goes. Over the past ten years, in a series of articles
in national magazines and scholarly quarterlies, he has conducted
many blistering attacks on the film establishment. In person, I found
him to be playful, outrageous, deeply thoughtful, screamingly funny,
and remarkably inspiring."
|"You are brilliant at
showing the disaster that has fallen on the whole educational system,
with its gaga admiration of these emotional manipulators and their
little sob stories. You are the world's greatest at puncturing
the pomposity of the puff-pockets. What moves me is not only that
you nail the problem in such detail — but that you then say
what ought to be done. It's a catharsis and a release
to read you."
|Christos Tsiolkas, Senses
"Ray Carney's work on
Cassavetes is an exemplary case of what the best criticism can
do. He has ensured
that work too long ignored and marginalized has been given new
life. It is due to people like Carney, to their personal and intellectual
commitment to championing Cassavetes' work that the director is finally
receiving his due. His is a labor of love, and it shows in the
"Reading Ray Carney's
writing about John Cassavetes is an experience akin to being deprogrammed
by a fascinating and gently persistent underground revolutionary.
Watching Cassavetes through the eyes of Carney will completely
rewire your brain. Be warned though. You may not be entirely happy
with the new wiring job. You will never again be able to watch
a film by someone like Lynch, Allen, Tarantino or the Coens, without
an incessant, blinking 'bullshit' light going off in your head."
| FilmFestivalWorld.com's 2007 review of Ray Carney's web site
"Truly independent filmmakers dare to explore things that really matter. They aren't worried about what worked last year, or trying to cash in on a successful formula, or thinking about what will play in Peoria, or what will make a lot of money. They do what artists in any other medium do - pose real questions about who we are, what matters in life, where are we headed, what our culture is doing to us. In short, they ask the same questions we ask ourselves. And then, amazingly, they do something we don't always do: try to answer them.
"Crazy? Narcissistic? Pigheaded? Wildly ambitious? Flawed? Foolish? Indie films can be all those things. But they're attempting to give us the news that really matters. The emotional news. News about what it is to be alive today. To quote Ezra Pound, the news that stays news."
-- Ray Carney as quoted by David Sterritt,
Film critic of The Christian Science Monitor from the January 28, 2005 edition
"Ray Carney is Professor of Film and American Studies at Boston University. He is the world's leading expert on the life and work of actor-writer-director John Cassavetes, often named as the father of the American independent film movement. Carney's twelve books include: The Films of Mike Leigh: Embracing the World (Cambridge University Press, 2000). American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra (Wesleyan University Press, 1996). Speaking the Language of Desire: The Films of Carl Dreyer (Cambridge University Press, 1989) and five books on the life and work of Cassavetes including his landmark work, Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber, 2001). Professor Carney has been a tireless advocate for cinema made outside the Hollywood system.
"Carney is also the General Editor of The Cambridge Film Classics. He has served as a consultant on film and American art for the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and National Public Radio. He is a charter member of the advisory board of the Boston Film Festival and is the founding presenter of the festival's annual "Independent Filmmaker" award. He has advised, programmed films for, and lectured at many dozens of national and international film festivals, including those at: Berlin, Rotterdam, San Francisco, San Sebastian, Sydney and at Sundance.
"New visitors seeking a quick introduction to Ray Carney's truly extraordinary website are recommended to go to the Mailbag. The Mailbag pages include comments about recent films and filmmakers, suggestions for dealing with filmmaking and distribution problems, and updates and reflections on a range of recent issues." -- Filmfestivalworld.com
For a list of websites
with material by or about Ray Carney, click
High-resolution JPG images of Prof. Carney
are available here..