Narrowing the gap

From Genevieve Yue

Michael pointed me to David Bordwell’s great and polemical piece, “Academics Vs. Critics,” and while I agree with much of the essay (I appreciate, especially, the care Bordwell takes in offering a bridge between the two camps), the scholar-critic divide doesn’t appear quite as stark to me. Of course I’m writing with only six years in the academy and not Bordwell’s thirty, but that might be part of the generational point. If film criticism was considered a lower form of journalism than art or architecture writing in the past, then it’s certainly on par today, at least from the perspective of university training. Continue reading

Eyes Wide Shut: Notes Toward a New Video Criticism

By Damon Smith

In the embarrassment of riches that is the new digital age, we are not lacking for critical voices. There are far too many good blogs and web sites and film-news outlets to keep up with at present, many built on the ashes of defunct print magazines and journals (Bright Lights or Movie: A Journal of Film Criticism, for instance), others erected by thoughtful cinephiles (Girish Shambu) or maintained by seasoned professionals (Dave Kehr, Jonathan Rosenbaum) who have much more to say than the shrinking newshole at their current or former outlet normally allows for. Consider those published in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Hindi, Arabic, and other major languages, and it’s easy to be not only awed by the choice and variety of quality sites devoted to cinema, but almost oppressed by their multitudinous manifestations. On the Internet, anyone can operate a fanzine or film journal, and for the most part, we benefit immeasurably from this cinephilic outpouring. Continue reading

Editorial: How We Got Here

Kings of the Road (Wim Wenders) 1975 Germany 175 min

Welcome to “Project: New Cinephilia,” a cross-platform initiative of the Edinburgh International Film Festival open to critics, students, curators, archivists, filmmakers, film-industry professionals, publishers, educators, movie lovers, and the film-curious public. In the weeks ahead, we will publish original essays, roundtable discussions, and film-related artworks by a roster of international contributors. Today, we are proud to debut the official P:NC website, co-published and powered by our friends at MUBI, who will host P:NC-related discussion in their Forums.

When festival director James Mullighan phoned in late December and asked if we would co-curate a symposium on film criticism for the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival, we were honoured to accept. He then suggested that we rethink the ossified formats of such symposia—keynote speeches and panel talks—and imagine what could be done differently. How could we create something people would want to be part of, something that would draw the interest of critics and filmmakers and have an educational component as well? We welcomed that idea, and talked through some possibilities. “I want you to reinvent the whole idea of such a conference,” he told us, invoking the iconoclastic spirit that has historically defined the Edinburgh Festival. “Break all the rules.” It was in this hugely ambitious context that the seeds of “Project: New Cinephilia” were sown. Whether we succeed or not depends largely on you—our audience—whom we hope to thoroughly engage throughout the coming weeks. Continue reading