Programming, discussion and racing to the Tree

Tree of Life (Terrence Malick) 2011 USA 138 min

Postcard from Berlin, by Andrew Grant

Cinephilic brothers-in-arms:

Much to chew on here. Will return to matters of cinephilia in a moment, but I wanted to address the issues of criticism that have been raised. While I agree that critics, particularly those that write for online-only outlets, are under pressure to turn in copy while the topic is still “fresh” it’s reached rather ridiculous levels of late, and one only need turn to Cannes coverage for proof, particularly the morning of 16 May, when Malick’s The Tree of Life was unspooled for critics. At 10:05am (CET) Fabrice Leclerc’s review appeared on the L’Express site, even though the film still had about another 30 minutes to go. No idea how that happened. Was he filing from the screening, or did he decide he’d seen enough around the ninety-minute mark? Continue reading

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Reclaim The Screens!

Tropical Malady (Apichatpong Weerasethakul) 2004, Thailand/France/Germany/Italy, 118 mins

Postcard from Sydney, by Mathieu Ravier

Hi everyone,

How rewarding to read your words, such interesting ideas bouncing back and forth across time zones (and hemispheres!).

I’m thrilled about how information technology is changing the way films are made, seen, disseminated and talked about. It’s opened up new opportunities for many who were previously excluded from this creative universe. It’s turned cinephilia from a secret club for the privileged to a “Broad church” in which anyone can worship.

I don’t think access, even defined as overexposure, poses a threat to thoughtful criticism. Those sensitive to its charms had to seek it out in the past, they will seek it out in the future. The same can be said of contemplative cinema. Isn’t part of our role to aggregate, demystify, point the way? If anything, I think the abundance of un-sponsored, unedited, multifaceted voices helps bridge the gap between an audience too often treated like a market, and a cinema too often marginalized by its inability to compete for attention in a media-saturated landscape. For all the trash that washes up on its beaches, the internet is still a place where one can access treasures of cinema, gems of criticism. It’s an ocean of information, not a tidal wave. Continue reading