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Archive for October 20th, 2012

By Bob Clark

Between books by the likes of J. Hoberman and David Denby and no end of speculation from online commentators, there’s been a lot of questions asked about the place that cinema has in the growing fog of mass-media communications and whatever role that true art plays in that versus the marketplace. In the case of many professional critics, there’s been far too much emphasis on the death of film as a physical tool, on the weaning end of celluloid as an instrument of cinema versus the rising popularity of digital-video among younger directors and thrifty producers, mostly with an eye for the loss of the old visual substance one had with the chemical process of old-school photography, ignoring the ways in which new technology has effectively democratized what once was the most expensive, and therefore least inclusive, of all the arts. While there’s every chance that this cheaper blend of cinematic tools will eventually help sire a new generation of savvy independent filmmakers beyond this past decade’s mumblecore crowd, so far we’ve mainly seen all the old stalwarts benefit from the rise of digital, from mainstream Hollywood filmmakers to institutional art-house relics. To a certain extent all of these forces are present on display in the new films showcased during each year during the New York Film Festival, which traditionally blends high-profile Oscar-bait like a professional fisherman opening a box of his latest lures, with a cornucopia of select international fare.

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