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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cinemapunk

We used to make the joke, “I’ll wait for the movie.” Now it seems that’s all that remains, the movie. Hard to imagine what life would be like without the movie. Steampunk imagines a fantastic world where technology never progresses beyond the steam age. What would we call the film-less world? Are we able to imagine such a world at all? Hard to believe there are some places in the world that remain cinemapunk (for lack of a better name).

Some say that Fritz Lang’s 1927 film “Metropolis” set the stage for steampunk. Yes, a film started the sub-genre, but this may have been inspired by the controversial 1917 movie, “Birth of a Nation” which was set in the Civil War.

What would our days and nights be without movies? I remember when going to the movies was a big thing. I stood in line that wrapped around the block in 1977 to see Star Wars. I returned to the theatre five more times to see it. I went to movies nearly three times a week (at least once on Wednesdays) for years. Now, I can’t seem to manage my Netflix Instant View account and am totally burned out on “24.”

Somehow we think we can’t live without film media. It’s everywhere. Thousands of blog posts daily illustrate their content with YouTube or Vimeo--there is some very creative stuff out there. News media can’t seem to thrive without film. Television shows are now taking on a new format, breaking away from the 25 or 45 minutes for 15 weeks seasons to delivering 1-1 ½ or 2 hour “episodes” over a three or four week “season.”

I think part of the reason we moths are attracted to the flickering light on the screen is because we enjoy being entertained. Our culture now thrives on entertainment. We like “checking out” of reality and going to another place and time. Sadly, we pay good money to have someone imagine for us. Left to ourselves, we are boring because we are forgetting how to think.

A world without film is the world outside, where the birds sing and the sun shines; where the moon dances in the clouds and the smell of flowers fill the air. A world without film is a world where people talk to one another beyond, “what size popcorn should we get?” A world without film moves, in real pictures.

I enjoy a good film, but in it’s place; in it’s time. A GOOD film.

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