Break.

"Criticism jockey" is the most apt, most succinct and, if I'm honest, most flattering description possible of what it is I've been doing with the Daily since it launched as an appendage to GreenCine in May 2003; there'd be a brief stopover at IFC before settling here at MUBI, where it well and truly belonged. I wish I'd come up with the term myself, but it comes from Paul Brunick, specifically, from a brief section on a "new kind of editor-as-aggregator" in his two-part survey of the state of film criticism for Film Comment (parts 1 and 2). Nearly a year on now, the piece more than holds up; you can practically watch the passing days, weeks and months proving his point: "Cinephilia generally and film criticism specifically are being profoundly transformed by the technologies of the Web. Where this process will end is hard to say; after all, today's cutting edge is tomorrow's primitivist phase. But what's clear is that film commentary, far from being exhausted, has barely begun to tap its evolutionary potential. And that's inherently exciting, undeniably fascinating." And finally, he adds, "if you're longing for a transformative decade, then look around. You're living in one. Try to enjoy it while it lasts."

The word that leaps out to me here is "enjoy." Back in 2007, Nick Dawson asked me about the mechanics of keeping the Daily rolling and, reading that informal interview now, I can see that what were already irritations and dissatisfactions then have since grown into something larger and more serious. In short, I've been skimming the surface far too exhaustively (and exhaustingly) for far too long, and it's time for me to step back from the noise and gather a little perspective. This doesn't mean I'll be disappearing altogether. With The Notebook, Danny Kasman has created the best regularly updated publication devoted to cinema and, once my head clears, I look forward to submitting contributions. And of course, whenever I stumble over an item of interest, you can be sure I'll be tweeting it via @thedailyMUBI. For now, though, even if only for a while, I need to take the needle off the record.

Responses

32 responses to this post.  Join the discussion

  • greg x

    This is not welcome news for those of us who look forward to your contributions David, but I can certainly understand the desire to take a breather after all the greats links and news you’ve provided. I hope the contributions you will continue to make will be frequent, even if not as regular as before, and even more I hope that you get a chance to write more on your own. Thanks for the all the work you’ve done here.

  • David Hudson

    Many thanks, Greg!

  • Leo Goldsmith

    A well-earned rest! Enjoy it, David.

  • Michael Hawley

    NOOOOOoooooooo!!! (Wishing you all the best, David, and thanks for the past eight years. My fingers remain crossed that one day you’ll return to doing this magnificent thing that apparently only you are capable of doing.)

  • Srikanth Srinivasan

    Truly well deserved break, David. Of course, it’s a shot in the arm for us lazy bums and greenhorns, especially when it comes to film fest coverage. (The thought of Venice going uncovered by you is terrifying).

    But, man, have I been hooked to this column?! The round ups were truly a revelation and their exhaustive and meticulous structure amounted to amazing reviews by themselves, It’s the great work that you did regularly that helped us to put things into perspective. This will really be irreplaceable.

    Thanks for all the scoop, David. Looking forward to future contributions, even if not in same format. All the best and cheers!

  • Michael Sicinski

    [a standing ovation, not as impressive in text, but still…]

    Take a bow, sir.

  • David Hudson

    Thanks again, everybody. Your comments really do mean a lot to me.

  • Seanax

    You set the bar, David. Have a good rest.

  • efe

    Take a bow, sir.

  • Andy

    A break, you have earned it, sir, definitely, for sure! Looking forward to your triumphant return!

  • Dennis Cozzalio

    David, you have been the lifeline for me in my entrance and participation in this film community and so of course this is not the most welcome of news for me, or any of us, selfishly speaking, who have made you our home page for so many years.

    That said, I can’t even conceive of the level of commitment and passion it must take to do what you do, and if anyone deserves the time off it’s you.

    Thank you so much for everything you’ve done over the past six years that I’ve known you. I look forward to what you have in store when the needle hits the vinyl once again.

  • Sam's Myth

    Rest up David… but this is sad news for us all, you will be sorely missed.

  • Peter A. Martin

    As an editor and aggregator, you’ve set a very high bar, David, and made an incredible contribution to my cinematic education by pointing me to articles and writers who have enlightened and enraged.

    Yet it’s your own writing, peeking out only occasionally, that seems the most refreshing of all. Here’s hoping that the break gives you the opportunity to recharge your batteries and return in whatever capacity feels best to you.

  • Stephen

    My first thought was I can’t go through this again – even the short absences between the last three stops were excrutiating thanks to the essential, meticulous work you do. But as someone enjoying a break myself, let me concur that you deserve one. (Forgive me though for hoping you’re able to recharge your batteries quickly, because we’re all going to miss you dearly while you’re away.)

  • Cinebeats

    You’ll be missed, David but I hope you enjoy your summer break. I look forward to your updates at MUBI but I’ll keep a closer look on your Twitter page now. What you do here is invaluable and I can only imagine the commitment and hours that must go into it. Cheers!

  • Mac

    You sure do take a lot of breaks.

  • Adam Cook

    Your work with the Daily has been a vital part of how I consume film criticism by and large ever since you began writing here in The Notebook. Your efforts have been invaluable, and I’ve appreciated the help and attention you’ve given my own work as well.

    A soldier of cinema.

  • Matthew Flanagan

    Good for you, David. Enjoy the break!

  • R. Emmet Sweeney

    Well deserved, David. Thanks for all you’ve done for this strange little community of ours.

  • raypride

    Break a break!

  • herb shellenberger

    Well put, David. I hope you can enjoy your time off and look forward to your future contributions. As the sole non-local writer to pump events at my place of employment, your efforts have been more than appreciated. Please let me know if you’re even in Philadelphia and you’ll get the king’s treatment at our theater and I’ve still got your address to mail off a Pop Cinema book to you once I get a few other things done this summer first. I will have to subscribe to a lot more blogs and twitter feeds now too! On that note, maybe something effusive to update the community on in the future would be how you have found places to pay attention to in the past and possibly even some or all of your RSS or Twitter links, so that we might all keep up on our own.

    Thanks again!

  • herb shellenberger

    *even = ever, blahblah!

  • Bobby Wise

    Thank you for the irreplaceable service, David. I surely hope MUBI continues with the “criticism jockeying”. Even 50% capacity would be worth something considering the high level of continued excellence you have given us.

  • Mark

    Sad news, if understandable. Enjoy the break, we all look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

  • Peter Nellhaus

    Enjoy.

  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    Very well deserved rest. You know I owe ya everything, right?

  • David Phelps

    Me too. Enjoy it.

  • David Bordwell

    David, you’ve done a splendid job all these years. You’ve provided a model of painstaking, discerning coverage. We’re all in your debt, and you deserve a rest (with time for watching more movies, I hope).

  • OMAR AHMED

    You clearly deserve it – you are in my opinion one of the finest propagators of cinephilia. Thanks for your tremendous work. Have a good one.

  • Sachin

    David, I hope you enjoy a truly deserved break. I would be lost without your wonderful posts. I also love the fact that you do not restrict your posts only to film but cover other aspects related to cinema. One of your posts last week certainly came to my aid. Last week I was in New York for a few days and if it were not for your mention of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Primitive installation at the New Museum, I would have missed that incredible experience. So thanks for all your hard work :)

  • Michael Koresky

    Whatever will we do, besides miss you terribly?

  • Bob Turnbull

    Best of luck David…Thanks for everything you’ve done to help establish a greater sense of community for film bloggers and for all the encouragement you always managed to provide. Just a simple link from you was enough to keep me going for months…B-)

    Take care,

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