The Jellicle Criticism Manifesto

The reading of films is a difficult matter

It isn’t just one of your holiday games

You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter

When I tell you a film must have three different reads

First of all there’s the reading the people use daily

Such as “funny,” “moving,” “trite,” or “too long”

Such as “thrilling” or “sweet,” “a bore” or “mundane,”

All of them sensible everyday reads


There are fancier readings if you think they sound sweeter,

Some for emotion and some for the brain,

Such as “marxist,” “platonic,” “escatological,” “theater”

All of them sensible everyday reads.


But I tell you a film needs a read that’s particular

A read that’s peculiar and more dignified

Else how can the critic keep themselves quite so singular

Or spread through their memories, or cherish their pride?


Critics of this kind, I can give you a quorum

Fans of films like Alita, or Zardoz or Cats

Such as Speed Racer, or else Jupe Ascending

Readers cherishing feelings owed to solely one film


But above and beyond there’s still one lens left over

And that is the read that you never will guess

The reading no human research can discover

But the film itself knows and will never confess


When you notice a film in obscure exaltation

The reason, I tell you, is always the same

The film is engaged in a rapt contemplation

Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of this lens

Its ineffable, effable, effanineffable

Deep and inscrutable singular read


Read, read, read, read, read, read