1 Levy: Bio Supplement

As I grow older and more experienced, my film and cultural criticism has become not only more personal but also more constructive. It might be easier to note and point out the negative elements–the deficiencies–of art works, including movies. But I would rather emphasize the positive elements of motion pictures, TV programs and series, and other works of pop culture.

I do believe that, ultimately, experiencing art (including film) is a deeply personal and subjective process. Yet the primary goal of my criticism is to guide readers and viewers in how and what they look at, and look for, in a particular artwork. The critique that I offer, which draws on my idiosyncratic background, is also informed by the complex and intricate ways in which age, race, gender, class, and sexuality interact and influence our reaction to and perception of every and any artwork.

When students or colleagues ask me, what is the deepest feeling–the most gratifying experience–I have had at the movies, I often like to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation on abandonment: “The one thing we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory, to do something without knowing how or why; in short, to draw a new circle.”

Not much was ever achieved without any enthusiasm.  For me, the critical way of life–or the life as a critic–continues to be wonderful by sheer abandonment.