Question of the Week
Does anyone remember back in the mid-1990s, when a bunch of critics and other various pundits were proclaiming "The Death of Cinema" and "The Death of Cinephilia"? Well, a lot of those articles, by such critics as David Denby, Susan Sontag, David Thomson, and James Wolcott came out before the real heyday of the Internet, with's it's proliferation of personal websites, blogs, and message boards dedicated to that little thing we like to call the movies. Milk Plus is but one of many such websites filled with passionate, knowledgeable cinephiles, many of whom also maintain their own personal sites (a bit of history, many of the Milk Plus members were also former particpants in the NYT Film Forum, which dates back to 1997; at least I was there, along with Rodney). Cinephilia and the Internet also go hand and hand in many other ways, for example: the rise of DVDs has created a thriving collection of web-based, mail order rental outlets such as GreenCine, Netflix, and Facets; many traditional media outlets have placed their film-related content online; and of course, there is the holy grail, real successful streaming Internet film distribution (and it's slightly more surreptious cousin, P2P systems for downloading). With all of this in mind, the question of the week is:
How has the Internet affected your own personal sense and practice of Cinephilia? Has the experience been all positive, or have you experienced some negative aspects of Internet-driven Cinephilia (beyond conversing with people that you have personally disliked)? And what are these postive and negative aspects? Lastly, is this surge in the late 1990s, early 2000s Cinephilia been driven solely by emergent technologies, or is it the quality of films released since the mid-1990s, or, perhaps even both factors?
This is not part of the actual question, but if you were old enough to experience earlier surges in Cinephilia (i.e. the 1960s and 1970s) feel free to compare and contrast these two eras (most of the articles that I referenced above nostalgically reference the 60s and 70s, an argument that writers like Kent Jones, in his brilliant destruction of Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
, and Jonathan Rosenbaum have deconstructed).
Due to the scope of this question you may answer this question in as many responses as you find necessary. As always, the question of the week is open to all blog member and readers who wish to participate.