Over at The Guardian, blogger Ronald Bergan has written an incredibly snobby article called "Dumb Hollywood is Forever In Debt to Europe." The purpose of the piece seems to be to anger readers -- I assure you it's no accident that he published an article trashing American film on Independence Day. Bergan starts by taking aim at The Guardian's recent list of 1,000 Films to See Before You Die. He says, presumably while wearing a beret and enjoying a snifter of brandy: "A list that includes Dumb and Dumber and not Boudu Saved from Drowning renders itself worthless." He adds, presumably while cleaning his monocle with his ascot: "looking at the American Film Institute's recent list of Top 100 American Films made me think how much richer in masterpieces would be a similar list of non-American films." Please go and read the tremendously one-sided, reductive, dismissive article, which closes: "I suggest that American cinema -- with exceptions that prove the rule -- still lags behind the times. For anyone with an interest in films that explore the cinematic language and who sees film as a radical, contemporary art form on a par with the other arts, American cinema holds little interest."
Does Bergan think any American filmmakers are worthwhile? Yes -- three of them. "The only American-born film directors that truly belong in the Film Pantheon are John Ford, Howard Hawks and Orson Welles." Oh, and according to Bergan, Ernst Lubitsch, Fritz Lang, Douglas Sirk, Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock don't count, because they're "emigres" who "brought what they had learnt in Europe with them to America." Does he respect any living American directors? Not a one: "By the highest standards of cinema, American films fall short. There are no living American directors who can compete in innovation and depth with the likes of Theo Angelopoulos, Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Marie Straub, Bela Tarr, Pedro Costa, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Abbas Kiarostami, Manoel de Oliveira, Alexander Sokurov, Jia Zhang Ke or Tsai Ming-liang."
Now, I majored in film in college, and I love foreign cinema, but I'm fairly certain he made a couple of those names up. David Lynch? The Coen Brothers? Stanley Kubrick? Spike Lee? Steven Spielberg? None of these guys impress him? Bergan's failure to even mention Martin Scorsese is particularly inexcusable. By the way, there's the author's photograph in the upper right corner. Do you really think that dude's even seen Dumb and Dumber? Going off of that mug shot, I'd imagine Bergan also doesn't enjoy ice cream, sunsets, and the laughter of children.