It's heartbreaking to open to the obituaries in Variety and find, as I did for the January 31 issue, that a friend I'd lost touch with had died of cancer. Karen Jaehne, 51, was one of too-few American women film critics, a long-time contributing editor of the quarterly magazine, Cineaste, and more recently, resident online critic at FilmScouts.
When I knew her well a decade ago, she was (I hope she wouldn't mind me saying it) a delightfully wild spirit. I recall once at the Montreal Film Festival where she interviewed a British actor, spent the night with him at the end of the interview, and bragged to everyone about it the next day. Her first husband, a show-biz reporter, ran off with another woman, leaving Jaehne properly embittered. Whenever anyone described her "critic husband," Jaehne quickly would correct them. "He's not a critic," she'd say pointedly. "He's a reviewer."
Jaehne remarried and had a daughter. At her death, she was writing a book about America seen through the eyes of European filmmakers.