Friday, April 11, 2008

A New Venture

There's been a lot of handwringing and excitement both at the explosion of online, often amateur, film criticism. It's just one facet of a film culture that's find new forms and outlets through the internet. Moreover, online discussion has been expanding yet challenging the auteur and art-cinema-oriented assumptions of professional, journalistic criticism.

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.

16 comments:

girish said...

Hi Chris -- I really resonate with your desire to "open up our own slice of film culture to a broader dialogue: between academic and cinephile, political and aesthetic, popular and avant-gardist."

In other words, sign me up!

jason sperb said...

Hi Chris,
Yes, count me in. I think, as with all things in my life, the structure of a monthly film discussion would probably do good for me--get me on the ball.

And yes, anything that can help bridge gaps between disparate film cultures--or at least push us in that direction--gets my support.

Peace,
js

Bob said...

Chris: sounds like fun. And as I'm getting back on my movie-a-day project, adding a movie-a-month won't be too much of a strain. So I'm aboard, if you'll have me!

However, I do need to speak up in defense of "gaps between disparate film cultures." Conversations like the one you're proposing are interesting at least as much for how they bring out oppositions and sharpen arguments, rather than smoothing them over. Here's to manufacturing distinctions!

okay buddy said...

Oh my god!! Yet another film blog... But yes, sign me up, too, if you like. I like the idea of a film blog that doesn't focus on new releases (DVD or cineplex) and instead follows the random passions of cinephiles.

tom hughes said...

I would be excited and honoured to share ideas with you guys! Look forward to it.

Tom.x

Chris Cagle said...

Thanks for the interest, everyone.

Bob, well put. I should gloss over everything with my Habermasian spirt. I imagine that, at least for myself, the distinction between an academic take on the film and a cinephilic one will remain very much in place. But at least they can be in some kind of dialogue, which for me so far has been haphazard. It's something I keep giving thought to teaching film studies in a production department.

HarryTuttle said...

Sounds interesting. Though as I can't write digest blurbs in English, I'm afraid to breach the guidelines. I'll read what is going over here anyway. ;)
Good luck!

Marilyn Ferdinand said...

Yes, I'd love to do this. My kind of Book Club - one without the book.

Flickhead said...

May I join too?

Amit said...

Chris, seems like a wonderful idea, and I'd love to be part of this experiment.

david said...

I'd love to be part of any film discussion group that isn't dripping with theory. A young lad of my acquaintance graduated from a Baltimore film school, s amall intimate enterpise. But it couldn't escape the nightmare jargon of film academe.
Let me join your club.

wv boar dali

Julian Antos said...

Mind if I join? Please & Thank You.

Julian Antos said...

Sounds like a solid idea to me, I'd love to join...

Chris Cagle said...

Julian, I don't have your email address. Can you email it to me: ccagle - AT - temple.edu?

Jesse Richards said...

I would like to join as a contributor. My email address is:

jesserichards2002@yahoo.com

TheFilmist said...

I'd like to give this a go. My email is:

buffalowilder@yahoo.com