Cinephilia as Activism

Kino #45  Photo by Sarah Kukathas

Postcard from Sydney, by Mathieu Ravier

Hi everyone,

I’ll start by claiming cinephile pride. Perhaps it’s because I’m French, but the word “cinephile” works for me. I like “fan”, but how many people out there don’t consider themselves fans of film? A distinction seems necessary, and in years of watching (reading about, writing about, dreaming about) cinema, no better term has been suggested to me. It describes – from Ancient Greek to French to English – someone with a passionate interest in cinema. That’s us, isn’t it?

In recent years (as I write this even!) the way in which we make, watch, share and talk about films has changed. Merci technology. More people seem to be joining the conversation and that conversation seems to be both more fragmented and less inhibited (by class, by education, by gender, by geography). Continue reading

The zine from here

Postcard from Los Angeles, by Mike Everleth

Frances (and the gang),

Yeah, if I had to, I’d call myself a “fan” over a “cinephile.”

(An aside: Does it mean anything when my spell-checker doesn’t even recognize the word “cinephile” and wants me to replace it with “acidophiles”?)

Like yourself and Neil, I meandered into this world of writing about film on the Internet. I never wanted to nor planned to write about film. My background is in film production and pre-Internet comic book zine publishing. As far as the comic scene in those days went, “fandom” was a positive, fun word and concept to throw around. Us fans banded together to publish each other’s articles in our self-published, photocopied zines to share ideas, history and our own amateur comics. Fandom meant togetherness in a world that didn’t appreciate our obsession. Continue reading

Of cinephilia(s) and fandom

Postcard from London, by Frances Morgan

Hi Mike (Neil, Mathieu, Andrew),

I’m going to dive into the middle of Neil’s great opening statement before I have a nibble at the edges. ‘Personally speaking, I’m interested in how modern cinephilia overlaps with the business of making a living from film – making them, writing about them, programming them’, he says, and I agree. Perhaps one of the reasons the notion of cinephilia is being debated is to do with this particular question, but it’s hard to talk about business and making livings in relation to this art form that we love, and easier, perhaps, to talk about why and how we love it. Continue reading

Céci n’est pas un cinéphile

verpool (Lisandro Alonso) 2008 Argentina/France/Netherlands/Germany/Spain 84 min

Postcard from Sunderland, by Neil Young

Dear Frances (Mike, Matt and Andrew),

Of all the people to kick off a debate on New Cinephilia, they somehow picked me. I turned 40 in March, and there’s so much of current and recent and classic cinema with which I’m unfamiliar – if I reeled off the list of prominent directors of whom I have never seen a single movie, you’d be understandably shocked and startled (details of how I’ve managed to miss out on these guys’ work can perhaps be saved for later in these exchanges, though my preference for, if possible, seeing films on the big-screen is one factor, my 15 years as a horse-racing official another). So, by most cinephile’s standards, I am most likely not eligible to achieve proper “cinephile status”.

Or am I? As cinephilia – and New Cinephilia – evidently demands an engagement with current trends in cinema, is it necessary to (a) know who’s in the New Cinephile Canon at any given time, and (b) have seen at least one movie by those directors generally accepted as lurking within the pantheon? (just to reassure anyone who reckons I’m little more than a multiplex-haunting cine-philistine, I am up to speed on the likes of Albert Serra, Lisandro Alonso, Apichatpong Weerasethakul Claire Denis, Jia Zhang-Ke and James Benning, though that isn’t to say I’m a cheerleading fan for all of their films.) Continue reading

Online Roundtable 1: Meet the Guests

Roundtable image from http://flamesnation.ca

For the next week, Project: New Cinephilia is home to the first of our Online Roundtables, where five critics take it in turns to riff on cinephilia and respond to each other’s comments.  For this we have invited writers, programmers and distributors that many people will have encountered initially online, and whose writing has fed our cinephilia as readers, by being both infectious in their prose and generous with their links and references, leading audiences to new discoveries.

Our debut chair is Neil Young (Jigsaw Lounge) with esteemed guest contributors Frances Morgan (Sight & Sound), Mike Everleth (Bad Lit), Mathieu Ravier (The Festivalists) and Andrew Grant (Benten Films). The conversation will take place in a rough timezone order that spins from Sunderland to London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Berlin and back to Sunderland.

For full biographies please visit our Contributors page.  You will find all related posts in the Online Roundtable 1 .  Meanwhile, we welcome Neil to kick things off…