Princeton University Public Lectures Series

J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Do Movies have a Future?

David Denby The New Yorker :

Thursday, March 13, 2003 8:00 pm, at McCosh 50:

David Denby will discuss the nature of the American movie business and the role of the critic: Eight production companies are owned by six conglomerates, production is tilted toward 15-25 year-old males, the quality movies are loaded into the last six weeks of the year to qualify for awards. The more serious critics, meanwhile, long for art or at least for fresh entertainment and are at odds with an industrial system that increasingly thinks of movies as mere digits that can be converted into toys, games, books, songs, and other products. Yet critics still have a function, as the enthusiasm for such movies as "The Hours" would suggest. Fresh talent emerges from the periphery, and so on. He will also talk about digitization as the future for movies, both for good and for ill, and the chances of survival of minority cultural tastes in general (classical music, jazz, blues, documentaries, foreign films, etc.) in the digital future.

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About the J. Edward Farnum Fund

"Founded [in 1939] by a bequest of George L. Farnum of the Class of 1894 in memory of his brother, J. Edward Farnum of the Class of 1890, 'for the purpose of providing lectures from time to time by men of prominence not connected with the University'."

Lecturers have included John Gielgud on "Readings from Shakespeare" (1946-1947); V. S. Pritchett on "Conversation in the English Novel" (1953-1954); Isaiah Berlin on "DeMaistre and the Origins of Fascism" (1962-1963); Roland de Vaux on "Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Palestine and the Old Testament" (1964-1965); and Eleanor Holmes Norton on "The New Equality" (1974-1975). Farnum, who died in 1917, was an explorer for whom "strange people and customs held a fascination." In 1897 he traveled from Pekin to Vladivostok, "700 miles of which had never before been traversed by a European." So reported the Princeton Alumni Weekly in 1941.