About Ray Carney
What critics and journalists have said

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The Boston Globe
"In a torrent of essays, articles, and interviews, Ray Carney has established 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 that the same ten titles play at every multiplex from coast to coast, to the television, radio, and print journalists who...function as mindless extensions of the studio ad campaigns. His sharpest barbs, however, have been reserved for the academic critics and university film programs 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."

MovieMaker Magazine  
"A 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."

Visions Magazine  
"Ray Carney 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."

Stan Brakhage  
"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 of Cinema

"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 writing."

Steven Schuldt

"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

The Films of Mike Leigh
American Vision:
The Films of Frank Capra
Speaking the Language of Desire:
The Films of Carl Dreyer
Cassavetes on Cassavetes
The Films of John Cassavetes
American Dreaming:
The Films of John Cassavetes
and the American Experience
John Cassavetes:
The Adventure of Insecurity

For a list of websites with material by or about Ray Carney, click here.

High-resolution JPG images of Prof. Carney are available here..

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©Text Copyright 2003 by Ray Carney. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without written permission of the author.