Six o’clock and nine o’clock cinema

Anthony Lane, a long-time film critic for The New Yorker, has come up with a new way of categorising cinema.  Here is an extract from his article entitled “Happy Haneke”, published October 5, 2009 (page 60):

As a rough rule, cinema can be sundered into two halves: six o’clock cinema and nine o’clock films.  Most movies are nine o’clock affairs, and none the worse for it.  You get home from work, grab something to eat, head to the theatre, and enjoy the show.  And so to bed – alone or entwined, but, either way, with dreams whose sweetness will not be crumbled or soured by what you saw on-screen.  A six o’clock movie requires more organization: prebooked tickest, a restaurant table, the right friends.  You’r going to need them, because if all runs according to plan you will spend the second half of the evening tossing the movie – the impact and the substance of it – back and forth.  So Persona is a six o’clock movie, though it won’t leave you with much of an appetite.  As is The Deer Hunter, whereas Platoon, for all its sound and fury, works fine for nine o’clock.  The Reader is a nine o’clock movie that thinks it’s six o’clock.  Groundhog Day is the opposite.

A new way to look at films.  We will apply this to some films soon and see what happens.


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