The End Of Cinema?

The ongoing transformation of human social organisation is reflected in the transformation of cultural forms. This is, of course, why the lettrists announced back in the early 1950s that: “the cinema too must be destroyed!” Right now movies look pretty superannuated in comparison to gaming and social media. Even Hollywood bores like Brad Pitt are admitting there is no way they are going to get the kind of upfront salaries they did in the past. However, Pitt is wrong when he claims the economic crisis alone is responsible for doing-in Hollywood. Downloading and file sharing are games changers as much for film as for music. The revenue streams generated by cinema have changed and weakened, just as they have for music and books. While ongoing economic turmoil may have added to these pressures, the changes were coming anyway. Today badly shot mobile phone footage of inconsequential acts in public space go viral on YouTube and Hollywood can’t compete with this. If this isn’t the end of cinema then it is at least a chance to reinvent it – burn, Hollywood, burn!
If we’re not yet witnessed the end of cinema, we will in due course. As Amadeo Bordiga put it: “…in the fog of the depths off Nantacket, in the dark of the walled tomb of the living in Marcinelle, in the bitterness of the slime of the stagnant ponds of the Arabian Desert, while the forces of the Revolution seem to be hiding and Great Capital carouses in the bright sunlight, we have again found, at his inexhaustible work, the Old Mole who undermines the curse of the infamous social forms, who prepares for the not near, but most certain, destructive explosion.”
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by The Ghost of Juan Posadas on 2012-09-14 10:01:01 +0000

Can’t we have the end of capitalism now?

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-14 11:42:29 +0000

Gerard Lenne’s LA MORT DU CINEMA appeared in 1971. News of the death of film was perhaps exaggerated at that point but now it has come to pass. There will still be the odd interesting film made (probably in Korea) in the way the artisanal mode of production still comes up with some ticklishly good bit of glass-blowing etc but as an industry film is fucked.
Most stuff is made top-down with executives ruling the roost. A mode of production so authoritarian in structure mainly churns out objects whose aesthetic is slave to the dictates of coroporate capital – and that includes indie stuff, self-consciously tarted down versions of the meretricious high end.
All is manufacture. All is dictatorship. Don’t be fooled by the heroic discourse attaching to the job of the director. This language dresses up the fact that the director is paid to do what he’s told and to take it up the arse ‘like a man’. Sadly your fundament can get so fraught doing all this bidding that some go crazy and jump off bridges thus reinforcing the mock-heroics of the job… Great Scot! I speak out of bitter experience and eight years after a not wholly successful leap into the void off the Rialto in Venice – I am still here.
Time was when, from the Hollywood conveyour belt, signature and distinctiveness could be reclaimed – hence the beginnings of the auteur theory in the 1950s which detected individual style and even radical voice in the opiated dream-factory. Now this ‘voice’ is the croak of a corporate frogs’ chorus worked in, polished as part of the manufacturing process. So the critics who take a film like INCEPTION seriously, are really just lolling around doing nothing but donating their sad minds and bodies to the oiling of the marketing machine: criticism as PR.
Having suffered INCEPTION I want to go nowhere near another Nolan film. For starters how do you manage to make a film about dreams in which the dreamscapes are without desire or transgression? It’s like a summary of Freud in which there can be no mention of libido or sex. As a stuffy little Bright Young Thing in a blazer, Nolan did get a bit of intrigue going in MEMENTO but his auteur-isation makes me grimace as he’s become like some prog rock dinosaur, all technical and leaden. As for the recent Nolan Batman/DARK KNIGHT RISES, half an hour into the film at that Colorado multiplex on July 20 this year and the punk Joker of Aurora and environs had had enough of the slow-moving cinematic ‘complexity’ so the poor audience had to suffer for the sins of the the Auteur ( Nolan).
Death of film, murder in the multiplex. The killer was indulging in the dubious anarchist idea of ‘propaganda by deed’/bombing – or in his case ‘reviewing by deed’/shooting… Expect an axe-wielding – see the British gun laws – Man in the Iron Mask disguised as a Cumberland sausage at the next screening of a ‘film de’ Mike Leigh/Andrea Arnold/Lyn Ramsey/Roger Michel et al…. Let’s all drink to the Death of the Auteur.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-15 01:33:05 +0000

I knew you’d have something to say on this… not much from anyone else yet! Where’s Michael Roth when you need him? Strangely or not I saw Somi The Taekwondo Woman this evening which is a Japnese production shot in North Korean with a North Korean cast and crew…. curious but not the greatest martial arts movie ever made…. Never really got shown anywhere much outside Japan and North Korea despite being 15 years old… Judged on this if cinema is still alive in Korea it is more likely the south than the north….. But maybe I should save this for a proper blog post later….

Comment by Ned Ludd on 2012-09-15 09:35:05 +0000

I’m up for the end of the Internet if that will save film!

Comment by Nelly Lillette on 2012-09-15 13:35:26 +0000

I’d rather smash patriarchy!

Comment by Colin Crouch on 2012-09-15 15:32:02 +0000

Destroy Cinema might make a good game along the lines of Sid Meier’s Civilization but in reverse and somehow crossed with Destroy All Humans: and Lamberto Bava’s movie Demons might be tied into this….

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-09-15 18:05:15 +0000

Ah well it puts me in mind of the Public Enemy choon. Auteur theory always was a nice little device invented by the Cahiers mob to promote THEIR careers. I care little for the cinema these days-except I may well check out some of theses saucy Italian numbers that I have been pointed in the direction of. The whole set up of making a film really was like mobilising an army with all the attendant metaphors that you can imagine in terms of hierarchy structure and so on. So the current modus operendi is liberating and perhaps a little frightening at the sane time. Who will. E shedding tears that Brad Pitt won’t be trousering such a ginormous pay check? I am a champion of the images of the domestic and mundane-and if ‘badly shot’ video footage is going viral so much the better. The control to be found in most main stream cinematography is dull and stultifying. I once wrote a manifesto (long lost) asking for ‘deep cinema’ a frank visualisation of ourselves from all angles. It is long coming.

Comment by Lucy Johnson on 2012-09-15 18:06:22 +0000

And again please excuse a few typos as I have beamed this in from my mobile device…

Comment by Peter Johnson on 2012-09-15 18:58:34 +0000

Colin Crouch, Lamberto Bava really ain’t much cop as a director and looks even worse if you compare his work in the horror genre to that of his father the great and hugely influential Mario Bava!

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-15 22:12:12 +0000

I thought Demons was okay but it is Lamberto Bava’s best film – I’ve seen much worse by him – and it still doesn’t hold a light against most of what his dad made; although it is better than Dr Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs or Four Times That Night, but then those Mario Bava stinkers are still better than Lamberto Bava’s worst flicks and the son never comes close to his dad’s many great movies!
@ Lucy Johnson – I hear what you’re saying and maybe the collective nature of old school film-making is as good a demolition of auteur theory as anything…..

Comment by Kevin Bradley on 2012-09-16 09:51:03 +0000

Jean Rollin is much closer to the destroy cinema line than Mario or Lamberto Bava.

Comment by Pac Man on 2012-09-16 17:32:17 +0000

Nice Bordiga quote – shame about the rest of the piece.

Comment by Steve Redhill on 2012-09-16 18:49:14 +0000

No one on here interested in Brad Pitt? He’s one of the most talented actors on the planet!

Comment by Elron Hubbard on 2012-09-16 22:37:13 +0000

If Brad Pitt was any good he’d be a Scientologist like Tom Cruise.

Comment by Ex-Blogger on 2012-09-17 00:54:07 +0000

Blogging is dead too!

Comment by The Man in the Iron Mask on 2012-09-17 09:47:48 +0000

Last night I dreamt I went to Osterley again – to Osterley Park House on the outskirts of West London where scenes for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012) were shot in the library. The palatial house/domain is run by the National Trust. The Child family who made their money from banking and the East India Company used to be the owners. I wonder if that dreadful children’s writer Lauren Child – her CHARLIE AND LOLA series is so awkwardly written that it’s impossible to read out aloud to children without getting lockjaw: I wonder if this clumsy-arse exponent of bourgeois morality for mites is family? Before the Childs Osterley belonged to the Greshams, a bunch of swashbuckling capitalists and sinister political operators who founded the Royal Exchange and other secretive and exploitative institutions – which Mr Trippy knows all about. Gresham wealth originally came from the Dissolution of the Monasteries, part of a wider process of violent Tudorbethan expropriation which included the enclosures with their attendant vagrancy laws. The emerging nation state gave itself carte blanche to privatise the common land and to whip, mutilate and execute ‘criminals’ from amongst the emerging proletariat. Now it can be revealed that the Batman franchise, as well as being a morbid symptom signalling the death of cinema, is also part of the Gresham conspiracy and this family’s crimes against humanity. Where there is money, there is muck – and murk and mass murder. Culture is not immune: every document of culture is a document of barbarism. CARRY ON films have also been shot at Osterley – and appropriately HORRIBLE HISTORIES.
Re what Ms Lucy said about ‘deep cinema’: watch out for this aesthetic as it can easily slip into a form of reality tv and, worse, a Mike Leigh film, ie cinema as ‘farting in your sleep’ rather than a ‘machine for dreaming’. By the way, is Warhol’s SLEEP the prototype for ‘deep cinema’?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-09-17 14:15:37 +0000

Osterly is one of those places in west London I always wish I didn’t have to go through to get to Heathrow Airport on the tube…. And yes watch out for the Greshams who have both a street and a college in the City of London named after them. I’ll have a think about it before I get into the deep end with Warhol!

Comment by Frank Smedley on 2012-09-17 15:10:55 +0000

Osterly isn’t quite the end of the line…..

Comment by Ray Scott on 2012-09-17 20:58:20 +0000

Sounds like a punhline in search of a joke!

Comment by John Wells on 2012-09-18 00:53:23 +0000

Anyone For Denis, erm I mean theatre?

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