May 8, 2007
Anthony Kaufman has an interesting read on Anne Thompson's Variety article on film blogs. While Kaufman agrees that film blogs are becoming a permanent fixture of film culture, he also introduces a welcome note of skepticism on the implications of film blog culture, explaining that film critic bloggers, or cloggers, have, in some cases, made it more difficult to find reliable reviews, especially of smaller films that often depend on good internet buzz in order to find a larger audience.
Kaufman cites the example of Sujewa's frustration at Cynthia's review of Hannah Takes the Stairs as one example of this potential for frustration. But I would argue that Cynthia's review tells me more about Hannah than any plot summary or "straight" film review ever could. This may be because I've read Cynthia's blog for several years and know something about her style, but I think her parsing of the film's gender politics is an important perspective on the film, and one that contextualizes Hannah within the larger context of the Mumblecore movement.
The discussion of film blogging, which spills out into the comments on Sujewa's blog, points to an ongoing conversation film bloggers have been addressing for some time (inspired, in part, by Scott Karsten's Boston Globe column), one that opens into larger questions about how we validate authors or, more specifically, film reviewers and critics, and film blogs, which are often self-published obviously upset many of the criteria we use for finding reliable readings of films. I don't think this has to be a bad thing for filmmakers or audiences. Even while living outside of an urban center, I've been able to remain connected to much of what is going on in the indie and documentary scenes. And much of what we see on film blogs might simply be the equivalent of bar chatter, the word-of-mouth conversations that we've always had about movies rather than cultural pronouncements along the lines of Pauline Kael, Manohla Dargis, or Roger Ebert.
I'm not sure if I have any specific answers yet about what effects film blogs have on the larger film culture. I think it's an important conversation, though, and one that probably doesn't have a simple answer.
Posted by chuck at May 8, 2007 5:24 PM
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thanks chuck, this issue is so bizarre to me...
Posted by: cynthia at May 8, 2007 7:38 PM
The anonymous and fake comments on Sujewa's blog are especially strange.
Posted by: Chuck at May 8, 2007 10:28 PM