Reading customer reviews on Netflix is a fascinating and sometimes depressing window into our world. So many good and great movies (in my opinion) given low scores because people didn't "get" them. "Pretentious" is the default criticism.
Time to wheel out that old Eno quote again: 'I decided to turn the word "pretentious" into a compliment. The common assumption is that there are "real" people and there are others who are pretending to be something they're not. There is also an assumption that there's something morally wrong with pretending.'
Is it possible that people who dismiss films they see on Netflix as "pretentious" simply couldn't access the proper level of patience, open mindedness, and curiosity at the time of viewing? Maybe they were tired. Maybe their mind was still at the office. Maybe their heart was locked up over the squabble over squab at dinner.
My fear is that as a culture we're becoming too busy, too practical, too frustrated, dumbed down, distracted, and dismissive to appreciate things that don't completely spell themselves out for us.
Which is ironic, because I'm writing this while on hold with AT&T. It's taken me over two hours of waiting on hold over two days to get bounced from person to person over and over. All I want to do is pay my bill. I want to give AT&T my money, but their system is a maze so impossible to navigate that no one can help me. Oh look, I just got disconnected.
In an effort to correct what's wrong with the world, I hereby proclaim AT&T's customer service "pretentious" and Chris Marker's "Sans Soleil" a totally accessible work of international beauty and wonder.