(Or maybe it's just "chicken soup for the cinephile's soul?")
Jonathan Rosenbaum in the last Slate Movie Club:
For some people, the social aspect of moviegoing has been brutally curtailed ever since Hollywood started focusing on the youth market and scaring away most other people. Apart from a few important initiatives, such as MoveOn's organization of house parties around certain documentaries, DVDs aren't regarded as social instruments yet in quite the same way as movie theaters, but it's possible that this is only a question of time. Consider the potential options: Anybody can organize a film club with DVDs that can meet in storefronts, houses, flats, or just about anywhere else, and it isn't even illegal if you don't charge admission. Maybe someone will figure out a way of both charging admission and selling copies of the DVD after the screening, but even if they don't, the social possibilities of viewing DVDs in surroundings that are more intimate and comfortable than theaters have barely been tapped. And what's equally important is all the social activity that's already been taking place around these movies on the Internet.
And some choice bits from a fantastic interview with Bérénice Reynaud (read the whole thing!):
So what we have to do for a place like REDCAT or Los Angeles Filmforum is start rolling up our sleeves and do it grassroots. Send emails, send reminders, make phone calls, because we can't afford half a page in the LA Times. We have to make sure that we maintain an alternative film culture in Los Angeles, which is even more difficult than maintaining an alternative film culture in the United States in general because people in LA think that they know everything that there is to know about film. The entire film culture revolves around Hollywood and maybe a few European art films. This is such a waste. Why isn't information circulating more? Why aren't we doing more?
But look at Paolo Davanzo [curator of the Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles]. He doesn't get articles because he usually does not know far enough in advance what show he's going to have. His mode of programming reminds me a bit of what used to happen in the old days of the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris: people would drop in with a print under their arms and they would get it shown. To keep the culture alive, we need screening spaces with this kind of spontaneity, energy and flexibility. So Paolo publicizes his screening through e-mail. And he does get an audience.
Earlier this week I went to the Galapagos art space in Williamsburg, where among other things the Ocularis screenings are held, and saw Amir Muhammad's The Year of Living Vicariously (not bad). And it was comforting to me to think that, even if celluloid goes within a decade, even if theatrical exhibition were to one day cave in to pure digital-online availability, experiences similar to these--where friends, or a community of some kind, can put together a screening and show something they feel is important, worthy, underseen, or just interesting--will never die.