The Next Wave of Digital Cinephiles

Digital filmmaking is  being compared to the 70’s cinematic “rebellion which was headed up by director who are now just another sector of the archaic studio system which continues to erode and  become more and more antiquated as they continue to lose battle after battle with the Internet generation of Digital Guerilla Rebels. I am proud to be one of them. You see, Internet is more than just freedom of expression… it is the expression of true creativity… raw and unleashed. Personally, I am loving every single minute of it. I want to be shocked, surprised, thrilled and perplexed. I want to discover characters painted on canvases that may not always “fit” the stereotypical molds we’ve become so conditioned to watching in main stream.

My friends were mostly over-dramatic artists from other high schools and a few of them worked in a movie theater so I was really always into films. That was my whole life. Any decent movie that came to the theatre we would watch. Or we would stay in the theater all night running movies for ourselves. We would lie in the theatre with our feet against the bottom of the screen, smoke grass and watch movies until dawn then we would go to school. In the 70’s a lot of movies were original and not taken from books or other sources. There is a school of film happening right now that people are currently calling 70’s fatalism. I love those films. That’s the new generation of films like They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? [released back in 1969] or Klute [released in 1971] where something is inevitably resolved but not with a happy ending.

Everyone’s films are misinterpreted at some point. But there’s no true malice or absurdity in the people who don’t “get” a number of films. You know what you create as a filmmaker, but someone else watches it… and they immediately want to discuss it… it or write about it, and so they become tendentious or just really detached or “flip” about the art itself. And make no mistake about it, film is art. But as I have often stated, great art can make someone, anyone, everyone… very very uncomfortable. We tend to search rather desperately for keeps us feeling “safe”. It’s the ongoing battle between acceptable and unacceptable and more times than often there aren’t enough gray areas to create these “safe” zones.

The films that won’t get corporately financed, corporately made, and corporately distributed, are films that go beyond the realm of that which is considered good and evil. If whatever “bad” thing is in there, and it’s not pointed to within the structure of the film saying this is necessarily the bad thing, and the audience therefore is able to think a bit for itself as to what that thing actually is. Maybe it’s bad thing, maybe there are positive things, maybe there are different ways of feeling about it. I think the areas where audiences can feel uncomfortable, or areas that are taboo, are areas where thoughts and connections with what art can allow us to experienece, if we let it in… can actually occur.

Actually, taboo is a slightly different subject, and it’s another element away of describing something similar. Taboo elements are not able to be dealt with properly, or any way at all, it seems at this point in a corporately funded film. Really, when you analyze what is taboo in a culture, you can understand what a culture is really thinking about. I think it’s a very dangerous thing ultimately when the main form of communication, or the most important form of communication, in a culture is— which I feel like film making should be— but when it’s necessarily not able to genuinely deal in these taboo areas, there’s a lot of thinking that is not “permitted” to come forth, and that’s a tragic thing for the culture. I think it ends up stupefying the culture to not really have these elements dealt with— it all remains “labeled” as “cultish”, therefore we should be made to look away… not glimpse or gaze into it.

The audience is dictated to— that this is the only way to think about something with more layers than we should EVER attempt to peel away. It doesn’t let an audience think any other way. That’s also if the material has really been genuinely thought out without boundaries. I believe most of the time, it hasn’t really been so specifically thought out… which creates a dwindling audience, a small group of Bohemian outcasts who refuse to embrace the “system” but prefer to live on the edge of what remains unseen. So… where does the art of filmmaking find the next wave of  openly “free-basing” viewers… the wave of the a new audience with an “open” sense of all interpretation… a multi-dimensional group of digital cinephiles which swell in numbers?

For example, the baby-boomers, cinephiles since the ‘60s, are likely to be around for ten or fifteen more years. Where will new patrons come from? When I was in college, you scheduled your life around theatres’ showtimes, but younger people have gotten used to time shifting and on-demand access via tape, disc, cable, or the Web. A more worrisome sign: even in art houses near college campuses, students tend to make up a small fraction of the audience. The next few years will tell if changed tastes, along the habit of unbridled access to movies, will keep an aging Gen X from the art house. So my question is… is this a good thing? Or a bad thing?


~ by upbeatmag on February 4, 2012.

One Response to “The Next Wave of Digital Cinephiles”

  1. They Shoot Horses… and Klute are big favorites. Grest examples.

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