I'm in Splice writing about how cinema is the medium of ephemerality. Things mentioned: Roundhay Garden Scene, Mitch Hedberg, snuff films, Don DeLillo, The Animistic Apparatus, film screenings for non-humans, Jack Kerouac, Craig T. Nelson falling asleep in a recliner. Hope you enjoy:
The metaphysics of the void aside, film has other, more literal, associations with death. James Dean’s corpse. JFK in Dallas. The Zapruder Film locked in a Life magazine vault. Snuff films. Secret erotica filmed in Hitler’s bunker days before his suicide. The hanging in the back of the set in The Wizard of Oz. Canned laughter from old sitcoms of audiences who are all dead. All ghosts. A lot of these associations are mixed with doses of urban myth—no one died on the set of The Wizard of Oz —but illustrate our ongoing if sometimes suppressed affiliation of cinema with death. Don DeLillo says, “Film is more than the twentieth-century art. It’s another part of the twentieth-century mind. It’s the world seen from inside. We’ve come to a certain point in the history of film. If a thing can be filmed, the film is implied in the thing itself.”
DeLillo is right, but what does his statement mean for the 21st-century? If film was the medium through which people last century experienced reality, that burden now falls on the Internet. Our anxieties about death, erotic fantasies, consumption and entertainment have all been digitized and uploaded to the cloud. Liberated of the great weight of all of our cultural effluvia, finally free to be itself in a more distilled or purified way, what will film become? How will film live out its long afterlife?
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor