If you’re like me, then nothing is more simultaneously grating and unnerving than having to constantly hear about the supposed “Death of Film”–or at least what is currently being interpreted as such by pretty much anyone with an online blog that writes primarily on film related topics. Then again, anybody who thinks the Internet is an accurate representation of the behaviors and morals of real life society is fooling themselves, but let’s not disregard these notions just yet.
Yes, theories regarding the death of cinema have been on the table since at least the 1950s, back then mostly because of the expansion of television, but are now brought on due to several other factors. It has never really stopped being a topic of panic for the more unimaginative among our cinematic brethren, especially in the face of the transition to digital filming.
But try as our beating little hearts might, nothing has stopped the slow but steady progression further into the digital age. So what happens now? No amount of stale high-end-publication think pieces can change the fact that in quite a few ways, things have never been more interesting (or at the very least, unpredictable).
Bear with me for a moment. As of right now, there are more possible ways for artists to express themselves cinematically than ever before, and cinephilia is itself more inclusive, wide-ranging, and in some ways pervasive than it has ever had the opportunity to be.
Criticism may be less viable as a career option than any time in the past fifty or so years, but we have more intelligent voices out there now who take film seriously as an art form–which is to say nothing of the seemingly lowered bar for requirements as to what being a film enthusiast really entails.
Some recent disconcerting instances of individuals prophesying the cinematic apocalypse include certain high profile industry members, such as director Steven Soderbergh, speaking out and expressing their own displeasure the current state of films. While comments made from someone so tightly woven into the film industry should ordinarily strike fear into the hearts of anyone who considers themselves more than simply a casual moviegoer, what people like Soderbergh don’t seem to realize is how shortsighted the whole “everything is bad and you should feel bad” mentality is. Sure, David Lynch might think everything has gone to shit, but he hasn’t made a feature film in seven years, so why should we care what he thinks?
So why is it such an important time? Because it’s happening now – and we’re all bearing witness to the changes taking place before our very eyes, every time we go to the movie theater. We can grumble and kvetch all we want about the film industry heading in directions we might find less than interesting. But even still, whatever happens, we’ll always be there.
Marvel Studios might have film releases planned out until 2021 (gag), but there will conversely never be a shortage of smaller and more quality flicks that get released every year that we’re just not yet aware of. Besides, if all else fails, there’s always the latest big screen classic film revivals to look forward to.