Reading this interview with DK from a short while back, I was struck by the above, succinct sentiment. I've voiced a similar sentiment before, as have a great many cinephiles with a more formalist (and often auteurist) bent. I don't often make statements like this these days, but at the same time, in the proper circumstances all it takes is someone's snide dismissal of all experimental cinema, or of certain Robert Mulligan films (to name one name) for me to flip on the "sound and image" switch. Still, there is a massive weakness to this defense and it's strange how formalists seem nevertheless willingly to overlook it despite predicating their taste and connoisseurship on attention to the materials of the medium. "Plot and character" are simply not parallel, not congruous, not comparable, with "sound and image." You can attend to one at the privilege of the other; certainly this is the level at which a lot of formalist cinephilia pitches itself polemically. But 'sound and image' are for cinema what characteristics like words, sentence, diction, or grammar are for the written word. Concepts like plot and character require perception but also comprehension. Plot and character are not "uncinematic," nor are they "anti-cinematic," nor are they "cinematic." The means of narration and emplotment certainly vary from the moving image to the written word, just as they vary from film to film, type to type. But if they're there ... Formalist cinephilia can rail against very real crutches & impediments to understanding, but can rely upon its own crutches if the viewer isn't careful, and takes on dogma like a security blanket. (This last isn't a coded accustation of Kehr or anyone in particular, by the way - that interview was the springboard, it's not a target.)
I've had various kinds of reactions to "mumblecore" movies (does this label mean anything anymore?) ... but I've yet to see one that doesn't cause me to wonder, "Who are these people?"
The first section of The Nun's Story crossed with Times Square would equal something not unlike Ida Lupino's The Trouble with Angels.
And if you look at The Trouble with Angels, it's refreshing to see how rough-edged commercial cinema once allowed youths to be - blemished skin, seemingly unrehearsed body movements. One can't imagine a hair going astray on the head of Hugo's Asa Butterfield.