June 7, 2010

There must be a word for it

Writing about e-books in the paper the other weekend, I opened with: "There must be a word for it -- feeling nostalgia for things that have not even gone yet. Newspapers, CDs, movies that aren't in 3D. They're all still here but are talked about as though they have already disappeared or are close to extinction. Books are just the latest cultural artefact to go on the endangered species list."

Roger Ebert found a better way of expressing the same kind of feeling in the conclusion of his Cannes report:
Apart from the films themselves, a general cloud of gloom and doubt seemed to hang over the Croisette. The films that Cannes favors are hard to finance this year. Serious directors find themselves frustrated. Everything is falling apart. Manohla Dargis wrote of her complex feelings upon discovering that Cannes, even Cannes, seems ready to abandon film for video.
While the festival was underway, the announcement came that some studios want to release their big first-run films to On Demand TV within a month of their theatrical openings. This is bad news for theaters, bad news for what seeing a movie has traditionally meant, and bad news for adults, because that distribution pattern will lend itself to easily-promoted "high concept" trivia.
I've been to 35 festivals in Cannes. I'll tell you the truth. I doubt if there will even be a Cannes Film Festival in another 35 years. If there is, it will have little to do with the kinds of films and audiences we grew up treasuring. More and more, I'm feeling it's goodbye to all that.