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Epilogue '08: Edwin Mak, R3

Thanks for your response to my post Harry, but if I may, a brief clarification is in order. Although I do prefer to watch films made on film projected on celluloid—as I do films shot on HD video projected digitally—to view my defense of cinema as a fetishism of analogue, or any, format is a reading slightly misconstrued. Defending the status of cinema as art is beyond talk of formats. If anything, my criticism like yours in part, was directed at its treatment in the digital era of transition. Granted, exposure to cinema has been widened by digital innovation, but the essence of cinema is not in its ubiquity either. Just as, say, Francis Bacon’s paintings of Pope Innocent X remain works of art regardless of how many have seen them with their own eyes. Should, then, the wider proliferation of its highest quality reproductions, glossy anthologies and postcards be equally considered art? The answer is no: art/cinema cannot be equal, or, reduced to its being-everywhere. If that were so, it would make sense—especially in financial terms—only to aggressively distribute rather than exhibit art/cinema. Cinema theatres still exist precisely because cinema is more than just that. It should be encouraging that many people watch films on DVDs as treasured souvenirs—or even as extremely compressed web streams—if it then draws audiences to real cinema. But not if this newer mass culture, this post-cinema culture reduces cinema to its souvenir level. The ensuing expense of that is especially great: cinema, as a whole, becomes unable to function properly without adhering to the imperatives of speed and franchise, as is the regrettable fate of Bela Tarr. For many horse's-mouth accounts of this commercial interference in cinema see Room 999.*

* link via Nitesh.

<< HarryTuttle, R3 |

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