Those are not the words of Mr. Shane Danielsen himself, but of a documentary filmmaker from Norway that Mr. Danielsen encountered after the screening of un film de Joe Swanberg at the Berlinale. Mr. Danielsen's excellent indieWIRE piece, "Swanberg America's One Last Auteur Hope?" really ought to be the very last word on this vexed subject. As for Danielsen's puzzlement over why a particular critic is so smitten with the work of the man Danielsen so beautifully and aptly describes as "a soft-spoken lug with a George W. Bush smirk" who makes "some of the most patently solipsistic movies" ever, well, there's also a book-in-progress involved, I believe. Not that said critic would hold different views if there wasn't, mind you. Just mentioning. Which means, of course, that we haven't heard the last about said lug. I'm not in any hurry to see the picture that Danielsen applies some faint praise to, but if and when I do, I swear it will be the last time I sully my consciousness with such work. As Danielsen notes, deprivation of oxygen is not an imprudent policy in this case.
UPDATE: Against my better judgment, which I really ought to heed more often, I checked out Mr. Richard Brody's Twitter feed, and saw his multiple responses to Danielsen's article: the usual goalpost-shifting sophistry, self-and-Swanberg-pitying predictions of "shrieks," and scrambling to find errors in Danielsen's past work, which has a nice whiff of Roy-Cohn-style shenanigans to it. In any event, while I hold fast that from now on I'm just gonna watch as Mr. Brody claps for Joe with however many hands, I do have to note the irony inherent in the fact that a great deal of Mr. Brody's beef has to do with what he calls "cinephilia," or, when he's feeling clever, "cinecrophilia." The funny thing about this is that WITHOUT cinephilia, there would be no debate on Swanberg at all. Because normal people, when exposed to Swanbergian cinema, tend to get a little itchy after a few minutes, and say things like, "What is this shit? I've got home videos that look better, and are more interesting." In a way, you've got to feel bad for Brody; there are a lot of hurdles, both practical and theoretical, for the Swanberg champion to get over. I wish him the best of luck. As for Swanberg, well, Joe, just stop dropping David Foster Wallace's name and, honest, you won't hear any more from me.