What She Said

TRAILER

“She had a more positive influence on the climate for film in America than any other single person over the last three decades.” 

Roger Ebert

“It turns out to embody something appalling and widespread in the culture.” 

-Renata Adler, in the New York Review of Books

WHO WAS SHE?

Pauline Kael (1919-2001) was likely the most powerful, and divisive, movie critic of the 20th century. Writing for The New Yorker and publishing a dozen best-selling books, she ruthlessly pursued what made a movie or an actor’s performance work, or not, and why. Her passion made her both admired and despised amongst her readers.

Pauline’s own story is one of struggle and obsession: the fight to establish her voice and have it heard, and raise a daughter on her own in a time when the obstacles were high.

Her career began as the Hollywood studio system ended, and finished just as the digital age was born.

The latter golden age of movies of the 1960s and 1970s are the focus of this film that pursues the question of what made Pauline Kael’s work so individual, so influential — and so damned good.

FILMMAKERS

PARTICIPANTS

Quentin Tarantino
David O. Russell
Alec Baldwin
Francis Ford Coppola
Paul Schrader
John Boorman
Robert Towne
James Toback
Joe Morgenstern
James Wolcott
Gina James
William Whitworth
Marcia Nasatir
Christopher Durang
John Guare
Carol Baum
Tom Pollock
Molly Haskell
Roy Blount Jr.
David V. Picker
David Edelstein
George Malko
Stephanie Zacharek
Greil Marcus
Craig Seligman
Michael Sragow
Brian Kellow
Carrie Rickey
Allen Barra
Daryl Chin
Philip Lopate
Lili Anolik
Daniel Menaker
Jaime Manrique
Camille Paglia
Laurence McGilvery
Ortun Neisar
Chester Villalba
Dirk van Nouhays

PHOTOS

“I try to use my initial responses to explore not only what a movie means to me, but what it may mean to others: to get at the many ways in which movies, by affecting us on sensual and primitive levels, are a supremely pleasurable and dangerous art form.”

-Pauline Kael

News

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Press

04
Jun

Vanity Fair

By Katey Rich

“Hey directors: next time you get a bad review, just remember, critics hated Citizen Kane when it first opened, too. That’s the lesson learned by David O. Russell, at least, in reading the work of Pauline Kael…Russell is far from the only filmmaker who’s been hugely influenced by Kael. What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael documentary includes interviews with Quentin Tarantino, Paul Schrader, Robert Towne, Francis Ford Coppola, and Alec Baldwin”

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02
Jun

Rockcritics

“It’s interesting what a big deal having strong opinions was for critics back then. It’s far down the list of what I look for now.”

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27
May

Indiewire

By Sam Adams

“What She Said comes at an important juncture, as Kael’s stock seems to have fallen in recent years, or at least her name is no longer spoken with the same reverence. But the live-wire crackle of her prose has not diminished with time, and her ability to break from the herd without (usually) descending into petty squabbling is sorely missed.”

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