Re-centering the Cinema Experience in a Multi-Platform, Digital Age
With the advent of online distribution and the rise of multiple media devices, claims of the cinema’s imminent death have surfaced with greater intensity than ever before. Of course, with an ever-widening array of platforms these accounts have placed a newfound emphasis on the cinema as a distinctive physical space, one that plays host to a very particular and much cherished cultural activity. This article considers the substance of these claims by tracing a very particular historical route. Firstly, be revisiting Baudry’s notion of the dispositif, this article detects the importance of the physical environment in the process of film consumption. Secondly, I relate this emphasis on the physical to the traditional notion of the cinephile, a practice that ritualises the cinema experience. Many accounts across the spectrum of film history will attest to the profound ways in which the physical experience of the cinema summons a rich emotional response. Lastly, I consider how the cinema and the collective nature of film consumption provides an authentic trace to the past and a very certain time and place in history. In turn, despite competition from cheaper and more convenient platforms, this article will endeavour to show how the cinema retains its place at the centre of contemporary film culture.
Cinema, dispositif, cinephilia, cultural memory.