The New Cinematic Language...Maybe?

So, in that last post? The one where I refuse to lament the death of "cinema" because, well, I really don't think it's dead? I have continued to think of what our new idea of cinema should be in our blockbuster digital generation...most film scholars tend to harken back to the French New Wave, the weighty semiotics scholarship, the philosophical angst of Fellini & Allen & Bergman. But, so much has changed! Existentialism, post modernism, Freudianism- are all things that we know and have in our film lexicon, they were the foundation for that cultural era elevating certain films into subjects & objects not just passing, fleeting things... so, what is our new vocabulary then? What is it that defines the new school of cinematic discourse that is yet recognized, amorphously being spoken in classrooms and on blogs and is the thing that will glue together whatever this new era of film thought/speak is? We aren't talking like the old film days because these film days are different! So, I came up with a few ideas...sort of comparisons of new schools and old schools (namely the 60s cinema heyday tears are being shed for!) of filmmaking that maybe we should look into as a new, new wave...a nouvelle, nouvelle vague perhaps! Anyway...what do you guys think? O, and on a side note, Italo Calvino's Six Memos For the Next Millennium really should be the text we are looking towards if everybody wants to get all academic and chatty about stuff...

1. Neuroscience/Science instead of Psychology/Philosophy
Jung, Freud, Lacan, Irigary, Derrida, PostStructualism, Feminism, Marxism- the list of theoretical frameworks goes on & on once academia got it's grubby little hands on the film world and began to comprise the language that people used to discuss the theory of film. And it made sense given the issues and climate of the day as Vertov compared our eyes to the movie camera...but now? The projector is no longer the same as our eye, it is closer to our brain firing light pulses along pixels as information is transmitted in a different, digital way. Also, our issues are different too: climate change, economic meltdowns, instantaneous technological advancement...It only makes sense that the Neuroscience of film, of how our own synapses are reacting to these new formations of images seen before us, is an emerging field... Our internet identity/outer projection of ourselves and the everchanging science swirling around us (not only inside of our heads!) is what makes the new protagonist!

2. Technology Outside the Film instead of Inside the Film
This article over at the Creator's Project (a pretty nice resource by the way!) about the newest forms of filmmaking is really crazy when you look at it in terms of cinematic studies...nearly every innovation described here has nothing to do with the film itself! They are all extrasensory additions that exist outside of the movie screen- the 3d glasses, the smoke machine, the (literally) surround sound speakers. For awhile techonological advancement came primarily in the form of special effects (remember how excited we all once were for real effing looking dinosaurs in Jurassic Park?) but now, the techonology is acting as an external, experiential bridge between film and audience and marking a transformation that, no doubt, should lead to a larger discussion on expanded cinema/sensory overload/the movement of film off of the screen, etc.....

3. Archetypes & Environments instead of Characters & Places or Fake Can Be Just As Good As Real...maybe?
I don't really know how to phrase this one...maybe what I am thinking of is the extreme smoothness of today's actors, gliding through real and green screened worlds with ease as they represents some sort of opposed to the highly lit eyes of Elizabeth Taylor in overly elaborate sets or the Breathless/cinema verite model with no sets at all with each character's inner life the struggle they must endure...maybe that is it? Maybe all of this technology, globalization, the internets and all have made new cinema a creamy lie of sorts? Everything can be air brushed or constructed, a falseness that the audience either deciphers (like I tend to do- the first time I saw Titanic on the big screen I noticed a little green screened man running down a flight of stairs and the stairs were just a wee bit off in size from the computer rendered scale of the stairs, marking the beginning of my life long attune eye seeking out the cinematic lies...) or get lost in. I guess the increase in comic book movies, and even the increase in magical realism people are all hyped up about lately, are just another layer to the extreme unreality we now have in movies- a far, far cry from the highly realistic, personal stories that lead the 60s film dialogue... which sort of leads me to the last theme of this new cinematic age....

4. Pre/Live Editing instead of Post Editing
...another concept I can't entirely explain we go: The jump cut. We all know about the jump cut. It was a highly controlled, inexplicable, blaring "look at the editing, a person made this" decision that really changed the way people viewed the craft of film. Nowadays expanded cinema (notably the live editing of Sam Green's Utopia project and the over abundance of live music/film projects of late) are kind of commonplace, as is the cell phone camera, the flip camera, and the accessibility of filmmaking in general: the editing of films is tending to happen live! This is so strange! Of course even live performances of films are occurring with a basic outline but, still, the human element involved in film editing has become a more involved thing, a DIY ethos prevailing, oftentimes in camera editing  the elaborate staging that occurs in-camera to achieve special effects done in post mixed with the seeming off the cuff but highly controlled first person camera of many a handheld masterpiece)...a thing that I find strange when thinking of how cut off from others our internet lives have become...? Even though cinema is accessible now, the choices and human made decisions are more prevalent than ever even though they are often providing the vector base for whatever weird false world directors choose to overlay on top of these decisions! The human hand is present but masked, now film community run with that one!

So maybe that's a primer on how I see our new filmspeak shaping up? Or maybe I am way, way off? Either way, I would love to hear what those out there in the film community think...?? Holler over! (Also, I have a feeling I will be editing this when I am less groggy...hehe...nighty-night dear readers! Made a few awake changes!)



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.