I don't recall reading Andrew Sarris' movie reviews and essays in the Village Voice, but I must have since I subscribed to that counterculture newspaper during Sarris' glory days as its film critic. I must have been the only LSU student in the late '60s and early '70s to subscribe to the Voice, as well as the Paris Review. Each week I also received the New Yorker, the stage for Pauline Kael, whose reviews I hungrily consumed.
Although I'm not that familiar with Sarris' work, I do know about his career from countless memoirs about the New York art/movie/music/book/magazine/newspaper scene. Sarris died this week, and reading Sarris' New York Times obituary stirred my impressions of those days. My generation, strongly influenced by Sarris and Kael whether we read them or not, saw movies as our central art form. Sarris, one of the first to bring French auteur theory to America, led us to see the film director as a creative colossus.
We searched out foreign films by Bergman, Trauffaut and others, and learned to speak with intellectual pretension about American films by John Ford, Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock. Little did we know when watching "Sunset Boulevard" or "Stagecoach" on summer morning television when we were children that we were viewing "cinema"; we just found them entertaining movies.