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Archive for February 2nd, 2013

By Bob Clark

Among my growing obsessions while following movies for the past several years has been observing the cinematic experience– that is, the act of actually seeing a movie in the cinema, in the theater, as opposed to merely watching it at home on a television or computer screen. Increasingly we’re seeing a whole host of generations growing used to viewing films made for the biggest of screens on the smallest of devices. The gap between a mainstream film’s theatrical lifespan and its home-video release in all manner of physical and online forms grows shorter and shorter, with some filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh even cutting out the middleman entirely and preferring to experiment with solely on-demand and streaming releases for some works. We’ve also seen the rise of television as a prestige medium for storytelling, something which is relatively new in America but established most other places. A crucial difference lies in the balance of creative power, however– whether in live-action or animation, television in Europe and Asia can very often be a director’s medium, whereas in the United States it is almost always a writer-driven affair, which can result in excellent long-form serial narrative but oftentimes lackluster visual storytelling. Add to this the by now standard habit of sending out screener discs for industry-insders to catch up with new releases at home before casting their ballots during awards season, and one may well wonder if the various recipients ought to be receiving Oscar or Emmy statuettes for their troubles.

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