Mar 31, 2014

Don't Worry About the End of Film…But Do Continue to Panic

by Rebecca Hernandez-Gerber

Richard Brody’s “Don’t Worry About the End of Film,” offers a refreshing change to the plethora of apocalyptic responses to the digital age of cinema, and yet I feel that it still falls short. It should be commended that this author points out that powerful ideas come through regardless of the medium, a point that seems lost on many that value film as the only true moving image art form, but it is a statement that feels more lip-service to digital auteurs than authentically represented in the blog post.
Whether we like it or not, the death of cinema is upon us. Brody mentions, “Those of us who have known the experience of watching project prints…ought to preserve…the idea of it.” Still, one must question why that is the case? What is it about film that is somehow better than all other mediums? Moving images are moving images, after all. This generation of audiences, and all those that will come in the future, will have no understanding of what film is. They will not, indeed do not currently, care about projected prints. And while I adore the aura of cinema, the fact is that digital projection is reaching a point where it is equal to that of film, perhaps will one day surpass it. Why cling to film? What is the purpose?

It is this sentiment that gives me pause. Yes, Brody’s blog post is better than most, and yes it does point out some important aspects, but it remains yet another piece dedicated to the glory of film without any concreteness to how that glory can be measured. His statements against video, the immediacy of it, are not necessarily true. They are true to him, and to others raised on film, but they are not true to the rest of us. The superiority of film is not self-evident, and those of us that do not agree are not less culturally aware. We simply have a different aesthetic preference, and it is possible we are a little tired of being hit over the head with the superiority of photochemical film over all other moving image media.

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