How the digital turn and 9/11 have changed motion picture history.
In this sly and thought-provoking essay, Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman suggests that it's possible to speak of a distinctive twenty-first century cinema, only a decade into the new millennium. The advent of a new digital technology has led to the displacement of the medium of film - and of the real, as digital image-making ends the necessity of having an actual world, let alone the need for a camera. The future history of motion pictures, Hoberman asserts, will be the history of animation. Meanwhile, the 2000 American presidential election and the trauma of 9/11 have reshaped the movies politically. The two events have combined to create a rupture in film history, perhaps presaging, as Susan Sontag forlornly predicted at the close of the century, the death of cinema, or at least cinephilia. This witty and allusive book, in the style of classic film theorist/critics like Andre Bazin and Siegfried Kracauer, expands on a much-discussed article by Hoberman from Artforum and includes considerations of global cinema's most important figures and films, from Lars von Trier and Zia Jiangke to WALL-E, Avatar, and Inception.