November 16, 2004

We're All About The 21st Century

Ugh. This much linked to and seriously cringe inducing article is why the Cinecultist tries to keep the writing limited to our movie-going life. Rather than dwell on what was a shocking train-wreck of Too Much Information in the Fashion & Style section of last weekend's New York Times, we turn instead to Manohla Dargis's essay in the magazine on The 21st-Century Cinephile. As our friend Matty who directed us to the article pointed out, that's us! The Cinecultist is so the 21st Century Cinephile. It could be our subheading description for this blog, if we weren't already enamored with the tag-line, "Crazy For Movies."

We couldn't put it better, as Dargis codifies what she sees as the current cinephilia:

Today, movie love means buying DVD's online, joining virtual communities on the Web and filling seats at regional film festivals. At once global and local, the new cinephilia simultaneously embraces old and new, avant-garde and mainstream, live action and animation, drama and documentary, celluloid and video. It supports modernist snobberies and promotes postmodern egalitarianism, worships dead masters alongside the living and takes film's aspirations to art as a matter of course. Its adherents use the Internet to track down cult directors and post reviews of films famous and obscure. For these new movie lovers, old divides like trash versus art, Hollywood versus the world have given way to an expansive inclusion of cinemas from around the globe.

The only place where our opinion on modern movie love diverges from Dargis's is with her emphasis on cinephilia as movie collecting. Later in the essay, she describes walking out of a theater and buying a difficult to find Japanese movie on Region 3 DVD to play on her hacked region-less DVD player. (Quite easy to do via Kim's Video, by the by.) To love movies now, according to Dargis, is to want to possess them, perhaps in little plastic packages on your shelves or in neatly catalogued review entries on your website. While CC sees that hoarding tendency in some of our friend's movie libraries, it's not our essential drive. Rather the "expansiveness" of our interests we think, has to do with cultivating taste, a more Sontag-ian model actually. How can a person say they love movies, if they don't take in and can weigh in on all the myriad possibilities of current cinema? If you can't find a bit of value somewhere in all of it, then how can you hold any of it close to your heart?

This is our roundabout way of saying in the coming months, CC will be thinking more on films and blogs in preparation for a discussion with the Reel Roundtable group during their season this winter on "Popular Culture and Film." Organizations such as Women Make Movies, Atom films and bloggers like Greg Allen of will be talking every Monday night about the convergence of music, the internet, anime and blogging with film. Plus, yours truly will be talking about film blogs on January 17. Mark your calendars now, but more details as we get closer to the date.

Posted by karen at November 16, 2004 8:33 AM