Back to the Motherland

Welcome on my website and weblog on cinema in the post-media age. Please add your voice to the debate by posting a comment. Let’s start from my essay Back to the Motherland: the film theatre in the postmedia age, that has just been published on Screen, No, 52 : 1, Spring 2011. In this article I argue that Artaud Double Bill (2007) by Atom Egoyan is the perfect illustration of the emergence of a new style of filmic vision. Egoyan’s film opposes two female spectators: Nana who watches La passion de Jeanne d’Arc in a clip from Vivre sa vie by Godard; and Anna who watches Vivre sa vie and sends the clip through her mobile phone to her friend Nicole, who is sitting in another film theatre. The opposition underlines four passages: from a text to the hypertext (Nana watches a film, Anna watches a film, a clip inside this film, messages on her mobile phone, and so on); from a centralized gaze to a decentralized glance (Nana gives attention only to a film; Anna displays a multitasking attention); from being immersed to surfing (Nana dives into the world represented on the screen, to the point where she experiences a catharsis; Anna keeps the film as a series of single sequences, and reacts with admiration but without participation); from isolation to connection (Nana abolishes any relation with the exterior world; Anna stays in touch with her friend). These changes draw a new paradigm for spectatorship: from the attendance, tied with classical cinema, to the performance, typical of the cinema ‘outside the film theatres’. Nevertheless, as Egoyan’s film claims, we apply the new paradigm to a theatrical situation too: we are irremediably post-spectators.

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