YEAR IN FILM: Contemplating the filmmaker as teacher
His colleague Ken Jacobs certainly thought so: "I had the dumb idea that he would balance the little department, teaching from his narrative/Hollywood experience but he was self-aggrandizing BS throughout, with tantalizing glimpses of a former self." Don't Expect Too Much justifiably avoids department politics to focus on the film itself, but knowing this acrimonious background colors Ray's former students' awed remembrances of the Great Artist. There's a lot of talk about the director working by instinct, exactly the kind of mystification Jacobs targets when he draws a distinction between "living through the cinema" and "using film to enrich your engagement with life and the real world": "One is an experience that dominates while the other condemns you to be free." The irony is that it's hard to imagine a public university giving either man so much freedom today — if they even hired them at all.