Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is "cinema" having a crisis? Not quite, says A. O. Scott

A. O. Scott is one of the most notable film writers who actively engages questions about the future of the moving image medium. His articles, though controversial, always offer a unique and thoughtful perspective on the impending and foreboding issues facing the film industry.

Scott is deeply familiar with the exodus of creative talent away from Oscar-winning films to prestigious television shows. In this most recent New York Times column, he tackles the similar issue of whether "the church of cinema" is facing cultural irrelevance in an age of seeming digital omnipotence.

Those foreseeing the end of film, the author argues, have not paid attention to how the medium has historically reacted to new changes. Many expected the advent of home media to demolish the theater; instead, it led to the rise of super-popular blockbusters. Even further back, some scholars expected that the advent of the paperback would destroy literature. Both these developments instead led to democratization, in which those beyond the cultural elite could enjoy media more easily. "To worry that [film will die]," Scott argues, "is to risk sliding into a reactionary, wrong-side of history mind-set."

The article is a worthwhile read for anyone on the Soderbergh side of the fence. The future of film may be filled with more energy and innovation than previous projections.

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