Andrew Sarris, the man who brought auteur theory to American shores and who ably reviewed films for The Observer, has died at 83, the Times reports. Mr. Sarris’s passion for film bled into his prose at The Observer years after he’d already become one of America’s most prominent champions of innovative directors at The Village Voice. To the end of his writing career here, Mr. Sarris sang the praises of directors like Bunuel, rather than focusing solely on Oscar bait or big-budget fiascos.
In one of his final reviews for this newspaper, of the Japanese film Departures, Mr. Sarris wrote: “The ultimate beauty of the film rests in its symbolic details that bridge the abyss between the living and the dead. As the French might say, it is to make one cry.” Also a professor at Columbia University, Mr. Sarris left behind a body of criticism at this newspaper, available here, that broadened the moviegoing habits of many readers.