The success of this film culture poses, however, a couple of problems. The proliferation of voices makes it hard to follow the many critics. Film cultures themselves get fractured along taste or national lines. And, as usual, the academy has been largely missing from the conversation.
My idea for an online movie club started when Girish Shambu asked how an appreciation for older films can square with the premium that film criticism puts on the present:
Being part of the film-blogosphere often exerts a certain pressure on us to see recent films promptly. One wants to be part of—or at least comprehend—the conversation that these films spark. We feel left out of the loop—not allowed to play—if we haven’t seen the films that are being buzzed about (or reviled). Sometimes guilt follows, and occasionally, out of sheer bloody-mindedness, the act of putting off seeing a film just because it seems so required.
I don't have any quick answer for the guilt of not watching enough, but Girish's post and the wonderful range of comments to it had me thinking: why not have a way to facilitate our online conversations about film across old and new? And why not learn from what each other is watching? A film club could break our (or at least my) usual filmwatching ruts and open up our own slice of film culture to a broader dialogue: between academic and cinephile, political and aesthetic, popular and avant-gardist, etc. In the process we can watch some films we would otherwise not, and enjoy ourselves.
So consider this an open invitation. I opted for a group blog format, despite the blogathon format that's tackled some worthy subjects already. Send me an email (pccagle -at- gmail) and let me know if you want to be included. Each month, I'll select a member to choose the film. Members can then post on the film throughout the month, at their convenience.
Further details and guidelines to come.