Anyone who even casually frequents the current online hot spots for film discussion is well aware of the ongoing raging debate about the future of film criticism. The alarmism is so resounding it may be reverberating in our heads for some time to come; but ultimately all the hand-wringing over the death of print criticism as it slowly, inexorably moves to the web is not just attention-grabbing shortsightedness—it’s the wrong target. It’s not simply film writing that’s been democratized by the digital realm, but film itself, and perhaps we’re better off first focusing on the changes therein, rather than turning the spotlight on ourselves.
In recent years, film trade magazines, blogs, panels, and the like have devoted themselves ad nauseam to discussing the implications of the digital on our beloved art form. Most obviously cinematography, but also editing, special effects, and even performances have been dissected under this new technological microscope, as filmmakers have lined up on both sides of the digital divide. Movies are now regularly either shot, or more often edited, digitally; digital projectors are becoming more commonplace; and in many cases films are bypassing traditional avenues of physical distribution altogether, existing only on hard drives and digital streams instead of prints and tapes. In 2008, we’re far from being able to talk about just George Lucas and a few isolated DIY others; it’s nearly impossible to find a filmmaker who hasn’t succumbed in some form. So why has a journal born five years ago on the cusp of digital explosion, such as Reverse Shot, only treaded lightly here until now? Read the rest of the intro here, and then click here to start sorting through our 22nd symposium, The New World: Reverse Shot Goes Digital, featuring articles on Godard, Lynch, Mann, Malick, Bergman, Marker, and many more.