James Lewis Hoberman (born March 14, 1949), [11] [12] known as J. Hoberman , is an American film critic and academic. He began working at The Village Voice in the 1970s, became a full-time staff writer in 1983, and was the newspaper's senior film critic from 1988 to 2012. He is also the author of several books.


Hoberman completed his B.A. at Binghamton University and his M.F.A. at Columbia University. At Binghamton, prominent experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs both instructed and influenced him. [5]


After completing his MFA Hoberman worked for The Village Voice as under Andrew Sarris. Hoberman specialized in writing about experimental film for the weekly paper: his first published review (in 1977) was of David Lynch's seminal debut film Eraserhead . In the mid-1970s, Hoberman contributed text articles to the underground comix anthology Arcade , edited by Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith. [13] From 2009 until January 4, 2012, Hoberman was the senior film editor at the Village Voice , where he was also an active leader in the staff union.

Since 1990, Hoberman has taught cinema history at Cooper Union. He has also lectured on film at Harvard, and at New York University. In addition to his academic and professional career, Hoberman is the author of several important books on cinema, including a collaboration with fellow film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, entitled Midnight Movies , published in 1983.

In the 2002 Sight & Sound film poll, Hoberman indicated that he regards Flaming Creatures as the greatest film ever made. Other films included in his top ten, listed by ranking, are The Girl from Chicago , Man with a Movie Camera , Pather Panchali , The Rules of the Game , Rose Hobart , Shoah , Two or Three Things I Know About Her , Les Vampires , and Vertigo . [14] In his unranked list for the 2012 poll, Au hasard Balthazar replaced Les Vampires . [15]

At the 2008 San Francisco International Film Festival, Hoberman was honored with the prestigious Mel Novikoff Award, an annual award "bestowed on an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema." [16] Hoberman appears in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism , recalling his first movie memory, going with his mother to see Cecil B. DeMille ’s The Greatest Show On Earth (1952), and how he was mesmerized by a scene in that film that depicts a train crash.

In January 2012, the Village Voice fired Hoberman in a move to cut costs. Hoberman said, "I have no regrets and whatever sadness I feel is outweighed by a sense of gratitude. Thirty-three years is a long time to be able to do something that you love to do, to champion things you want to champion, and to even get paid for it."

Following his tenure at the Village Voice , Hoberman has contributed articles to other publications, including The Guardian [2] and The New York Review of Books . He also contributes regularly to Film Comment , The New York Times , and The Virginia Quarterly Review . [2]