Cinema: Festivals

In theory, the New York Film Festival is a confluence of fresh works by prodigies; in practice, it has been a babel of indifferent talents redeemed only occasionally by a feature of originality. The festival officers are at once innocent and culpable. Many Eastern European pictures were unavailable; American companies prefer to release their films without any festival foreplay. But no such restrictions forced the selection of solemn bores and hedged experiments that mark the 1970 festival. Presented with inconsistent aesthetic standards, promoted with hyperthyroid jargon ("vertiginous spatial ambiguity . . . total...

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