Cinephilia Goes Global: Loving Cinema in the Post-cinematic Age

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The concept of cinephilia started to be explicitly invoked once more at the turn of the millenium. Susan Sontag’s often cited article “The Decay of Cinema,” published in the New York Times Magazine in 1996, lamented the symbolic death of cinema and with it the passing of cinephilia as a culture that values film not as an industrial product, but as a poetic object. The next ten years, however, saw the rebirth of cinephilia as a shared language of love, discussion, and film analysis—a culture that is very much alive through books on film theory and criticism, film journals, film festivals, let alone the proliferation of writing and viewing online, in blogs and video streaming channels. Unlike the first wave of historical cinephilia—which developed in the first two decades after the end of World War II in the metropolitan hubs of Europe and America, with Paris as its symbolic centre—this second wave is transnational and lacks a clear centre. Moreover, it approaches film as one more element in a multi-media constellation of moving images (Thomas Elsaesser), as new practices such as the video-essay suggest. This survey article will trace the evolution of the debates about cinephilia and its place within modern film culture with an emphasis on cinephilia’s “second wave.” I will focus on what Mark Betz has defined as the three facets of the study of contemporary cinephilia: as phenomenon (cultural, historical, geo-political), as experience (collective, individual), and as knowledge (fascination, reflection, interpretation). My aim is to explore the ways in which the elusiveness of the original cinematic experience is, in turn, prompting a myriad of cinephilic re-visions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to World Cinema
EditorsStone Rob, Cooke Paul, Dennison Stephanie, Marlow-Mann Alex
Place of PublicationOxon and New York
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781315688251
ISBN (Print)9781138918801
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

Publication series

NameRemapping World Cinema


  • Film Studies


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