By John David Ebert
Date Published: July 31, 2013
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Introduction to the Last Days of Celluloid:
An Excerpt from Post-Classic Cinema
by John David Ebert
Film, today, now finds itself in exile.
But in exile from what? And from where?
After the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in the Romano-Jewish Wars of 70 AD and then with the erasure of the Jews from the geopolitical map of Palestine by the emperor Hadrian in 135 AD, the Jews found themselves in exile from their homeland, to which they did not return until 1948. Their particular model of society has been termed “diasporic” by Arnold Toynbee,[i] and appropriated by Arjun Appadurai as the social model of the “diasporic public spheres” configured today by non-local and post-national social formations such as Al-Qaeda, Anonymous, and other revolutionary movements and criminal organizations which now pose the major threat to the world’s locally based Big National governments.[ii]
But with respect to film, the exile has to do with its delocalization from a material substrate in celluloid – which signifies a particular set of discrete images imprinted onto a specific strip of celluloid enclosed in this or that canister – to the virtual interiors of the electronic matrix of global digitization. In exiling film from a particular material substrate to a globally dispersive network, the release of a single Hollywood movie, say, can now be globally synchronized to open on the same day in all the planet’s movie theaters which have converted to digital projection (and virtually all theaters, since January of 2012, are in process of doing this; all will have done it by 2015).
Continued. . .