The Virtual Life of Film

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As almost (or, truly, virtually) every aspect of making and viewing movies is replaced by digital technologies, even the notion of "watching a film" is fast becoming an anachronism. With the likely disappearance of celluloid film stock as a medium, and the emergence of new media competing for an audience, what will happen to cinema–and to cinema studies? In the first of two books exploring this question, D. N. Rodowick considers the fate of film and its role in the aesthetics and culture of moviemaking and viewing in the twenty-first century.

Here Rodowick proposes and examines three different critical responses to the disappearance of film in relation to other time-based media, and to the study of contemporary visual culture. Film, he suggests, occupies a special place in the genealogy of the arts of the virtual: while film disappears, cinema persists–at least in the narrative forms imagined by Hollywood since 1915. Rodowick also observes that most so-called "new media" are fashioned upon a cinematic metaphor. His book helps us see how digital technologies are serving, like television and video before them, to perpetuate the cinematic as the mature audiovisual culture of the twentieth century–and, at the same time, how they are preparing the emergence of a new audiovisual culture whose broad outlines we are only just beginning to distinguish.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674026985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674026988
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces

Customer Reviews

An exemplary contribution to modern film theory

 on May 21, 2015
By Aleksander Hauge
One of the most influential books I have ever read about contemporary film philosophy. A must have for all film scholars out there that have an idea about the ongoing and very interesting discussion that involves the “death of film”.

Five Stars

 on March 29, 2015
By MateoDLR
Pristine condition. Just as described.

Good textbook for film students

 on January 10, 2014
By Penny
Good, sound information for the casual film-lover or the film student wanting to increase their level of knowledge of film.

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