Film Criticism in the Age of the Internet

An unexpected email from a stranger encouraged me to pick up the latest issue of Cineaste (Fall 2008). The current issue contains a long piece entitled Film Criticism in the Age of the Internet: A Critical Symposium, which is also available online.

I’ve become a bit weary of all the navel-gazing going on among film critics (and bloggers) lately but the piece in question offers a surprisingly refreshing look at modern film criticism and the impact of film bloggers in recent years. Two of my favorite bloggers (Zach Campbell and The Self-Styled Siren) and one of my favorite film critics (Adrian Martin) were kind enough to make mention of Cinebeats in this rather lengthy article and I’m really grateful for their support, especially since Cinebeats has been notably quiet in recent months.

The current issue also contains an interesting interview with filmmaker William Klein and a review of the new Alain Resnais DVDs recently released by Kino.

Head on over to the official Cineaste website for more good reading or better yet, pick up a copy of the latest issue which gives you access to many more fascinating articles including a great piece by Adrian Martin on director Chris Marker. There’s also a piece written by Marker himself. I’ve only recently become familiar with Chris Marker thanks to Criterion making his early films available on DVD last year but I’ve become fascinated with his his work and the more I read about him, the more I want to revisit his films again.

5 thoughts on “Film Criticism in the Age of the Internet

  1. Congrats on the shout-outs – they were only being honest, you know…this site has an individuality supreme.

  2. it’s a huge and complicated set of issues, this online writing about films. i gained a lot from a few years doing (or trying to do) my bit to try and add ultimately felt as though i simply added to the confusion, despite being keen on both not reading much about films before seeing them and not wanting to see people generalise their tastes when they’re hopefully showing an interest in at least intending to do just the opposite to that. it wasn’t until i stopped wanting to unnecessarily embelish trailers, other key bits of information, that i found i could do more by learning how to track things more closely and keep my efforts away from others desire to simply have things laid on a plate a little more often than is healthy for a personalised knowledge.

    what’s being done – blogging in recent years – so easily comes across as wanting to be seen to be capable of understanding what’s suddenly gone from more obscured to often painfully obvious in recent years… and then there are the better sites that can find the skill to give themselves space and time to show the variety and reality of how much (if not most) of what’s “cult” (well, that’s the world of more individual stuff, it seems – it’s an easy term to describe what isn’t being consumed so obviously by many outside of it’s original country or year of production) is actually being viewed out of time and place, being made obvious to an audience bigger than it’s financially in need of appealing to in order to continue to process of survival for less universal material, as most of it seems to be because of cultural influence and budgetary contraints amongst other things.

    it can do a lot of damage, the idea of wanting to portray yourself as in the know, or to at least subconciously wanting to be seen as needed or able to help others, because people seem to turn to the internet for the easy solution, not because there’s a bigger picture that takes time to find but ultimately gives much more power to your own journey. blogging, for example, should be about simply sharing a record of your interest – as it is for some of the less popular sites, those with less traffic than the bigger names – but it’s often clearly taken both by writer and reader as a service of spoonfeeding that’s not necessary (or positive) for people’s own future abilities. learning to fish versus being fed fish, as the saying goes.

  3. I think Cinebeats has so much more to offer than the bloggers mentioned in that Cineaste article, Kimberly. I want to read about filmmakers and weird funny genres and lost classics and why they’re cool. Give me ideas for rentals or movies to impress my friends with.

    Internet critics seems too neatly divided between celebrity gossip and the academics writing about art films unfit for public view. There are few moderate voices in between, people in their 30s or 40s who saw a really cool movie and want to tell you all about it.

    So, I value what you do here and can’t encourage you to keep up the great work.

  4. That’s really kind of you Joe and much appreciated! I’m glad you’ve been able to discover some films due to my posts here at Cinebeats because that’s really the main reason I enjoy writing about movies I enjoy. I always hope I can encourage someone to watch something they might have missed or avoided. Thanks again! Hopefully things will be a bit more active here in the coming months.

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