I saw Victor for the last time at the “Film-Philosophy Conference 2015: The Evaluation of Form”, which took place at the University of Oxford. On this occasion, he presented an insightful paper on Frederick Wiseman’s High School. He was kind enough to attend the panel that I shared with David Sorfa and Murray Pomerance and ask me a generous question about my talk.
Victor’s writings became companions throughout my formative years in film studies at the University of Kent and after that. I read and reread Film as Film so many times that I carried a copy of that book with me wherever I went. I left one on an airplane when I was travelling to participate in a conference in the United States. I can only hope that someone picked up, read it and treasured it in the same way I did. Perhaps it was passed along to yet another person. When I returned to England, I immediately purchased another copy. It was Andrew Klevan, his doctoral student at the University of Warwick, who introduced me to Victor’s work. I remember reading his carefully considered and emotionally responsive pieces of film criticism and thinking that perhaps only film, with its peculiar kind of human vibrancy, could generate such a humanist critic, simultaneously resolute and vulnerable. Every thing he wrote was a celebration of life and art, of their interrelationships through agency. Still shaken by the news of his passing, I know that this will remain.