Friday, September 28, 2007

A Blogging Anniversary

Although they need no plug from me, I thought it appropriate to point out that David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson are celebrating their one year anniversary of blogging. They each hold high positions in film scholarship, which is why one might think they would be "above" a medium such as blogging. One year and houndreds of thousands of words later, they have themselves one of the most informative, provocative and useful film blogs on the web. Observations on film art and Film Art is one of the very few absolutely essential film blogs out there, and it is such because David and Kristin take full advantage of the medium's properties and freedoms by imbuing them with knowledge, information, and insight. They often write at length on a wide variety of issues, some which function like book chapters in one of their books, others as supplementing chapters or articles already published with new ideas and perspectives. They also provide film festival coverage and feedback on more topical, immediate issues on the contemporary cinemascape.

They both advocate a very hands-on, science-based method for analyzing cinema, which is desperately needed in film studies today. Scholarship is in need of a massive paradigm shift toward the specific relationships of sound and image, spectator and screen, and Bordwell and Thompson are doing pioneering that shift. They've done it for years with their books and journal article, and now they've taken to digital media, which they appropriately recognize as a really important medium for the development of new models of film criticism. Of all that I've learned from perusing their archives over the last year, I find their "smaller" observations most striking, the kind that can only make it onto a blog and not really into a book, at least in such a subtle manner. As my way of tipping my hat to their accomplishment, I present the best bit of information I've come across on their blog in a series of simple sentences:

"We can talk tastes forever. Maybe you think Bergman is great, or the greatest, or obscenely overrated. I think that there’s something more general and intriguing going on beyond our tastes. What makes this hard to see is that the venues of popular journalism don’t allow us to explore some of the ideas and questions raised by our value judgments."

And finally, in the very same entry, the most educational, insightful, and important sentence I've read on their blog, or any blog, in the last year is an even simpler statement in a similar spirit: "The world is more interesting and unpredictable than our opinions."

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