Critically-Acclaimed Film Explores the Controversial Critic’s Life and Legacy

Juno Films has acquired the exclusive North American distribution rights to Rob Garver’s What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael. The film had its world premiere at Telluride and will premiere theatrically at Film Forum in January 2020 followed by a national theatrical rollout.  

Tagged by Roger Ebert as the most influential film critic of the late twentieth century, the film tells the story of Pauline’s turbulent life and work, through never-seen archival footage, her published writing and personal letters, and interviews with both friends and foes of her pen. Pauline is voiced by Sarah Jessica Parker, and participants include Quentin Tarantino, Camille Paglia, David O. Russell, Molly Haskell, Francis Ford Coppola, and daughter Gina James.  

Pauline Kael (1919-2001) was likely the most powerful, and personal, movie critic of the 20th century. Writing for The New Yorker and publishing a dozen best-selling books, she ruthlessly pursued what made a movie or an actor’s performance work, or not, and why. Her passion made her both admired and despised amongst her readers and her subjects. Pauline’s own story is one of struggle and obsession: the fight to establish her voice and have it heard, and to raise a daughter on her own in a time when the obstacles were high. The latter golden age of movies of the 1960s and 1970s are the focus of this film that pursues the question of what made Pauline Kael’s work so individual, so controversial — and so damned good.  

New York-based director and editor Garver also produced for 29Pictures LLC, alongside Glen Zipper, producer of the Academy-Award winning documentary Undefeated, and co-producer Doug Blush (20 Feet From Stardom). Composer Rick Baitz (The Vagina Monologues) wrote original music for the film, and visual effects were created by Minbomb/LA.    

The deal was negotiated between Elizabeth Sheldon, Juno’s CEO and co-founder, and Eric Sloss of Cinetic. “Pauline Kael was a badass female film critic at a time when women were fighting for equality and respect,” says Sheldon. “She remains an icon and iconoclast for film lovers today. We are thrilled to be working with Rob Garver to bring the film to American audiences.” Garver adds, “I think Pauline would be amused (and maybe worried) that a movie had been made about her. And she’d get a kick out of it being distributed by another woman. I am very excited to work with Elizabeth and Juno Films on a 5-year labor of love.”



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