Welcome to Post-Cinema: Movies Will Never Be the Same Again

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  1. Although “Rise of Skywalker” had its (many, many) flaws, it can’t retain the title of “worst Star Wars movie ever” until “The Last Jedi” is removed from the vaults forever.

    This was a great essay, though.

    • I also dislike The Last Jedi.

  2. I think the problem with the above analysis is that so much of emotional reward is dependent on coherence of plot continuity. In much same way that Mahler’s 6th symphony would lose its emotional depth and power if we schizophrenically jumped from one musical motif to another without any regard for betwixt of those two different musical ideas, movies lose their emotional power if the viewer is not forced to endure the buildup to those emotional climaxes. In short, character development and a viewer’s sense of connection with those characters is dependent on the work both the characters and the audience have to do to achieve it. One must actively sit through and watch a character develop to believe their development, rather than simply witnessing them “undeveloped” and then miraculously later, witness them “developed.” As such, while I think the idea of “Post-Cinema” as outlined above is an interesting intellectual exercise that perhaps helps elucidate the schizoid nature of modern culture, I think in many ways it also actively supports and encourages it, in so doing forcing us further and further down a path I don’t think is that positive.

    • Appreciate the comment! I’m with you on that view. I’m curious about Post-Cinema and do like the intellectual aspects of it and do think there will probably some film in that vein that blows my mind. But it’s so…antithetical to what I want and look for from narrative that I’m less interested in that style. But it also feels like there might be a lot of potential there too. Especially when someone comes along who finds away to blend the traditional stuff with this avant-garde stuff.

      • I’m curious as to what “blending traditional with avant-garde” means or would even look like. In my mind, post-cinema films already use the most crucial components of traditional plot structure. Everything else is largely fluff, meaningless in terms of theme and character development. Post-cinema isn’t avant-garde for doing less, but because it’s doing what’s necessary from traditional plot structure.

    • I feel there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of post-cinema here (which might be entirely my fault). I don’t believe your examples paint a proper picture of how post-cinema handles plot structure and character development.

      The problem I have with your argument is that I don’t believe “coherence of plot continuity” has anything to do with character development. You compare removing parts of a symphony with not being forced to “endure the buildup to those emotional climaxes.” That would be an insane thing to do to a symphony…but I also don’t see how that applies to post-cinema. From my vantage point, it seems you equate post-cinema with removing crucial parts of a character’s story–that we just move from “this version” of a character to “that version” of a character. And that’s fundamentally untrue of all the post-cinema movies I listed. In my mind, post-cinema means only keeping the stuff that matters and getting rid of excess material that inhibits character development–and that’s largely plot logistics. I don’t see how knowing how Kylo Ren got to the abandoned Death Star has anything to do with his character development and understanding his emotional journey. If anything, post-cinema better allows for character development because…well, character development is all that matters. You’re simply with characters and watching them react to events as they unfold. The idea that that emotional journey needs to be wrapped up in a traditional plot structure that’s been carefully mapped out and explained for it to have power just doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. Love this.

    Reminds me of a key insight from the making-of JURASSIC PARK documentary where production designer Rick Carter reminisces about shooting the final scene where the T-Rex battles the raptors. He asked Spielberg, “How does the T-Rex get in?” So Spielberg starts excitedly describing the various angles he’s planning on shooting to reveal the T-Rex as it enters from the top of the frame, and Rick Carter starts to laugh because he realizes Spielberg misunderstood the question as “how does the T-Rex enter the movie?” rather than what he intended: “logically, how does the T-Rex enter the building without anyone noticing?”

    Post-cinema, baby.

    • The most crucial key to post-cinema is: don’t think about it. 🙂

    • Haha, that’s a great anecdote.

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