So he therefore proceeds to take the work of the most most notoriously difficult filmmaker who, before the age of home video, was deeply appreciated primarily by a few dozen industry folks from city to city... and turn him into a Blanket Cinema Cool People Test, where those who do "understand" Bresson get club cards and those who don't either pretend they do because they don't want to be relegated to the RAMBO bin admitting they didn't catch sight of this alleged supergigantic blaring orgasmic parade that is supposed to have roared cinematically by in the form of any Bresson film-- or they simply lift their heads up from the Voice after reading Hoberman and recalling Bresson & say, "You fucking people are nuts" and add it to their checklist of beefs against a media which now seems because of such douche bag columns yet more confirmed to be composed smarmy, insulting, sushi-eating nitwits.
OK, sure, that run-on sentence is pure poetry, but hey, I like sushi, and do you really want to open up the can o'worms that is anti-intellectualizing vs. intellectualizing cinema? It seems like that's where you're heading. There's a thin line between bullying and discussion (some people could even see your post as bullying, or at least a dare to disagree). There's no defence for Hoberman though, that quote is ridiculous. But doesn't posturing have it merits? Just because some critic makes a wild statement (which you're prone to yourself, y'know), or postures himself or a filmmaker as a holy grail of filmdom, maybe it should be viewed as another tool of human expression that gets people interested in a specific filmmaker or film. Maybe somebody read that and picked up Pickpocket and loved it (as many have). And even if that last point was BS, there's no fighting hipstery posturing rubbish... it always wins.
[Bresson] is not Ozu where the inessential elements have been stripped away by a wise veteran director who once played the game with all the whistles & bells but has aged & understood the power and poetry of nothingness, of the act of backing off so that the viewer may come forward to inhabit certain zones of the mise en scene.
I, and I think a lot of other people would disagree and would say that Bresson *does* fit in nicely with that model of a "wise veteran director... who understood the power of poetry and nothingness". I love both Ozu and Bresson (I know, I'm sure everyone is shocked... take some time to for that to settle in), but we know that Bresson worked in a more constricted studio system as an assistant (or as David Ehrenstein contends, a gigolo), but from what we can tell from very early Ozu, he hasn't changed that much (and as far as bells and whistles are concerned, I can't think of any except for a few trains.)
I just want to reiterate how silly this whole Bresson-bullying routine is on the part of critics, where a guy like Narshty feels like he's got to apologize (not that he's all broken up about it, but it takes some guts to come oout & say such a thing in on a board like this because Bresson is ridiculously 'sacred' for some reason among critics & the 'serious' media, and the newer crop of cineastes take this up and are intimidated of stepping forward to say Okay this is just Nothing-- why are we watching this???).
People slam Bresson all the time. More exposure just means more slamming. It's probably all this bashing that leads critics to make Hobermanish pronouncements in the first place, like kids defending their dad's meatpacking plant job during recess ("he's the best meatpacking plant worker on the planet, jerk!") People on this board slam Bresson less for a couple of reasons: A, they actually like the films, B, they're "anything goes, why should I slam somebody someone else likes, why not just go about my business and talk about the films I enjoy" centrist types. I seriously doubt we're all brainwashed by Hoberman.
I do have to admit to a little bit of guilt though. Usually when I see someone posting dislike for Bresson on this forum (like Narshty did) there's a part of me that snobbishly invalidates the opinion by considering it someone playing the devil's advocate. It can probably be assumed that a lot of people here do this, but the first step is admitting, right?
Something else you said earlier, about coming to Bresson in a Vacuum, I would have to disagree. I just haphazardly borrowed A Man Escaped, on VHS, from a local library a few years ago and loved it. I've given a half a dozen friends Pickpocket to watch who have never heard of Bresson, and they all loved it. My exroommate watched friggin Lancelot du Lac and loved it, all without reading critical appraisals likening Bresson to God.