Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Being boring: a criticism

As well as childhood being the best days of your life, another adage that gives me the creeps is you're only bored if you're being boring (there's a version of the line in the Pet Shop Boys' song). It's always struck me as fatuous philosophy and I was pleased to see the artist Anselm Kiefer quoting Heidegger on the subject approvingly in Sophie Fiennes' new film, Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow. Kiefer suggests these are our true moments, when we can experience ourselves, and by extension perhaps, new thoughts; a very contemporary - maybe German - form of Zen.

Since childhood I've contended that boredom is a perfectly valid criticism ('I'm bored!'). Peter Bradshaw, in his review of Enter the Void, rounds on those who brand French director Gaspar Noé's latest provocation boring: 'Some may find Enter the Void detestable and objectionable, though if they affect to find it "boring" I will not believe them.' Odd that he should specify the exact word I would use to describe the film but also that he, in effect, places it as a stronger criticism than 'detestable' or 'objectionable'. Some may find the determinedly arty Over Your Cities... boring, with its long and very beautiful tracking shots of concrete structures and tunnels among the French landscape. Either way, I'm pleased to see the word claimed as a worthwhile form of criticism and not a facile taunt.

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