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The Critic and the Curator

by Amy Cole

“Curating is an act of generosity—you’re sharing what you love and what has inspired you.”

Martin Scorcese 

We recently kicked-off our year-long Centennial celebration and were thrilled to honor TPH critic-in-residence Marshall Fine with the Lifetime Achievement Award at our annual Marquee Night (view the video HERE). Through the years, Marshall has taken audiences on a journey through film that surprised, delighted, and challenged us. And while his title may be “critic,” Marshall himself has acknowledged that his role has shifted more toward curator.

“As a critic, films were my work, my vocation – no matter what they were about, I wanted to see them all. Not only that – I wanted to learn their history, understand how they were made, and talk to the people who made them. I lived to be challenged and engaged. And I longed to convince other people to see the films that challenged and engaged me. That is the ego of the critic.

The critic tries to convince an audience to appreciate something because he does. But as I began to embrace the role of curator, I found my focus shifting, to movies I could share with people because I knew they would enjoy them. 

Which is what a curator does. As I’ve often said at film club, I try to present films you might not have chosen for yourself – but which, afterward, make you say, “I’m glad I saw that.”

Being a critic is a solitary act. Being a curator is a collaborative one.”

And that’s what it’s all about here at The Picture House – coming together to see the world through a different lens, and have a renewed understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view. Film has a way of doing that unlike any other medium. Whether it’s sitting together in a darkened theater or participating in a class with other students, when we come together to create and share our stories we are putting our trust in a collective experience that awakens us to new possibilities. 

Don’t miss more from Marshall at our upcoming exclusive Oscar-insider conversation on April 23rd, just two days before the 93rd Academy Awards. Click HERE for tickets and more information.