The New York Film Critics Circle expelled cantankerous freethinker Armond White this morning, as punishment for his alleged heckling of 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. White, steadfastly rejecting any critical consensus, disputes the prevailing interpretation that he did wrong, or that it was heckling at all.
The most interesting thing to me about the film 12 Years a Slave is that both its director, Steve McQueen, and its lead, Chiwetel Ejiofor, are British sons of immigrant parents. I wonder how both men, being black but not having roots in America, think of and relate to the story of Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the American South years after Britain had passed its Slavery Abolition Act.
After Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave made its Toronto Film Festival debut last month, Vulture's Kyle Buchanan proclaimed, in a headline accompanying a gushing review, “Your Best Picture Winner Will Be 12 Years a Slave." I read that and wondered why a writer would set expectations so high for something he loved (beyond the click-bait potential of such grand pronouncements).
A movie theater chain famous for its strict no-texting policy has declared Madonna persona non grata after she reportedly ruined the New York Film Festival premiere of Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave for several filmgoers by texting nonstop during the screening, and barking at a woman who politely asked her to stop.