The bees have been buzzing for a couple days now with word that the Village Voice, once one of the great bastions of print film criticism, is gutting its film staff. Critic Michael Atkinson was given the boot a couple days ago, and now film editor Dennis Lim has also been shown the door, leaving only J Hoberman (pictured, right) to hold down the film criticism fort at the Voice. Gawker wrote up Atkinson's firing earlier this week, with a scathing indictment of the shakedown going on at the Voice, noting that the old guard is being replaced with an awful lot of friends of Voice EIC David Blum. Anthony Kaufman is mourning, especially, the loss of Lim, who, as Kaufman notes, has been a champion for independent film over the years. The IFC Blog wrote up the Voice makeover as well, bemoaning the loss of one of the few reliable print outlets that bothered to cover indie film . And David Poland, natch, has a write-up on the sackings as well.
As interesting as the string of firings over at the Voice are to follow -- including the rather shocking canning of Robert Christgau, the Voice's venerable top music critic -- what's really going to be interesting is to see what happens there over the next few months. Will the old vanguard of Village Voice critics be replaced with more generic voices writing across publications? Will the Voice's coverage of independent film be silenced as a result of the turnover?