YOU are dying.
Film Culture Isn’t Dead After All - NYTimes.com
I hate to ruin a good funeral, but all of this is nonsense. The coffin is empty. The habit of issuing death notices for various cultural forms is a vivid example of sentiment and ideology masquerading as sober historical judgment. Film has been buried alive, sharing cemetery space with the novel, painting, serious theater, rock ’n’ roll and all the other still-vibrant artistic pursuits that are routinely mistaken for corpses or shambling, brain-dead zombies.
The origins of this ghoulish habit lie not in history but in the life cycle of individuals. Reverence for the past is a universal human trait — or, at least, a recurring symptom of modernity — and the laws of capitalism, technological change and collective taste ensure that things are never what they used to be. The afterglow of your unique, youthful experiences — the kisses and cigarettes and cups of espresso that followed the movie, as much as the film itself — cast a harsh, flat light on the present, when you sit at home watching a DVD with a cup of herbal tea as your spouse dozes next to you on the couch. But don’t blame Hollywood for that!
This is not to say that the sense of loss is not real, or that the changes that create it are inconsequential. Film as a medium — a photochemical process that magically marries the physical and the ethereal — is quickly being displaced by digital cinema, and the implications of this shift are still being explored. There are filmmakers, critics and archivists who have rallied in defense of the beauty and utility of celluloid, while others celebrate the flexibility and low cost of the pixel-based way of doing it. As in every other domain of digital culture, anxiety and enthusiasm go hand in hand, and cherished customs and artifacts are threatened. What if people stop going to the movies, and surrender to the hypnotic lure of portable screens and endless streams? Where will we find the beauty and spectacle, the glamour and emotion we remember so fondly?
Look around! And yet the astonishing cinematic bounty that surrounds us contributes, in its own way, to the malaise. The movies are too much with us, late and soon. If there are so many films, then how can any one film count? If the audience is so fractured and distracted, how can the interesting arguments develop? But the thing is, they do — about “Lincoln” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” about “The Master” and “Argo,” about “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Amour” and “Holy Motors” and a dozen more in this year alone. That’s a pretty wild party, even if some of the guests insist on calling it a wake.