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By Shane Hazen | December 26, 2001

Legendary film critic Pauline Kæl is dead at 82. I’m assuming that most film fans are going to be overwhelmed with Pauline Kæl tributes following her death on Sunday. Why? Because possibly every writer on film in America is jumping out of his/her bones, stretching their writing abilities to finish up whatever remaining arguments they may have with her. Kæl, with her deeply formidable writing, brought the writer out of every film lover.
The biggest part of her appeal is that she took criticism, inherently a print medium, and worked for expression with those tools. Despite the ever quoted “movie love” she was associated with, she, in fact, liked reading more. She considered herself well versed in all arts (especially jazz), but seemed to have a photographic memory about film, and therefore fell into that.
Reading the first sentence of every one of Kæl’s critiques, you could hear a preparatory crack of her knuckles before she grabbed her pencil and shorthand pad. She had majestic prose, endless, always-inspired, long-winded phrases that-like the spirited passages of jazz-could lose and gain a momentum all in the same sentence; comma splices galore, intentionally sloppy sentence structures that couldn’t stop itself until it made a witty phrase to be proud of. These long verbal riffs had their casualties, though: Kæl, for all her celebration and adoration, was so frequently misunderstood-these long sentences were usually half-read, because something in the middle pissed off the reader, interjected onto their movie tastes and intelligence, greatly offended them, and forced them to chuck The New Yorker across the room.
Get the whole story in part two of SHE KEPT IT AMIDST THE MEDIOCRITY>>>

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