Slow! Cinephiles writing!

Slow! Cinephiles Writing

Postcard from Los Angeles, by Mike Everleth

Gang,

You’re making me dizzy. So many great points to respond to! But, I have to start here:

Andrew said: “the cinephile label is what separates writers and commenters on mubi.com from those at movies.com.”

Funny you brought that up because I used to make a living as a writer for movies.com! (Back when it was owned by Disney.) Clearly, movies.com wasn’t and isn’t made for cinephiles, but I just need to say that if I ever knew a dude who I thought was a cinephile, it would be reviewer Dave White, who still writes there.

But that also leads into Frances’ excellent points about the importance for “slow” film criticism to exist. (Someone needs to mock up a street sign: SLOW! CINEPHILES WRITING!)[done!-ed]. The Internet really has gone from mostly a place where one could find great, detailed, obscure information to a marketplace where everybody has to be up on every late-breaking-oh-my-god-this-is-so-important piece of minutiae that zips by at supersonic speeds.

Seriously, who wants to read an in-depth analysis of the early films of Peter Greenaway when the new Smurfs trailer is now live? Certainly there’s a place in the world for slow criticism and oh-my-god-you-have-to-watch-this-right-now-!!! blog posts to exist. But the Smurfs trailer is going to win out both financially and culturally every time.

Facebook status updates. Twitter tweets. RSS news feeds. It’s all so much to keep up on that it’s no wonder that we have to start pigeonholing each other. These are the fan sites over here. These are the cinephilia sites over there. But, who am I to complain? I’ve spent years trying to build myself up as the “underground film guy” and now I’m nervous that’s all anyone’s ever going to think of me. Hey, I saw Thor … and I liked it!

Frances, you also asked me specifically if I thought digital technology has had a significant impact on political filmmaking. Sadly, no I don’t, and I think it should. Sure, there’s the one-offs like Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky spending seven years making the doc Battle of Brooklyn, which is now on the fest circuit. And the London Underground Film Fest and the One+One Journal instigating a political short filmmaking challenge.

Actually, filmmaker donna k. recently wrote an impassioned essay on the need for art to speak out on injustice that is terrifically inspiring. I hope some filmmakers take up her call.

And that’s why I do wallow in the underground. I like making these connections with filmmakers. Plus, I hope my promoting them inspires others to create, whether it’s making their own films or writing about other people’s creative endeavors. I think that’s how the medium evolves, through our interactions with each other – the filmmakers with the cinephiles with the critics with the fans, and around it goes.

I’m still not sure if I’m a cinephile. To me, cinephilia meant a removing of oneself from the human interaction of discussing cinema. But, reading how the four of us are actively engaged with the medium we write about, through promotion, film festival programming, distribution, perhaps that’s the new cinephilia we were asked to discuss.

Mike Everleth

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2 thoughts on “Slow! Cinephiles writing!

  1. Pingback: The New Cinephilia: Part II (The Revenge) | Bad Lit

  2. Pingback: The New Cinephilia: Part II (The Revenge) | Underground Film Journal

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