So, with all the usual caveats of me being not that deep into cinema history and film watching in general, blah blah blah, here are my thoughts:cinewest wrote: ↑November 21st, 2019, 4:52 amOne thing that this exercise has made clear to me is that the period from the mid 50’s to mid 70’s really stands out in its richness, but not too far behind is the period from the mid 90’s until the early 2010’s, though there appears to be some drop off this decade.
I have some ideas about this, but wonder what others think. As to the richness of this more recent period, I think it is due to the expansion of cinema as a true “worldwide medium, and to the growth of independent film.
As to the fall off, I am less sure, though I believe it may have something to do with the development of other mixed-media, more interactive art forms, and a change in the marketplace, which is changing again with the growth of online production companies.
The question remains as to whether this will produce a new surge in creative cinema or not?
To put it another way, is it a dying art form, or one that is transforming into something else, and if the latter is true, what forms will that take?
For me, the richness of that first period you mention ends in the mid-to-late 60s. But more striking for me than the richness is just how deep and good "foreign" (i.e., non-English) film was - my lists from that period are hugely laden with non-English films to a much higher degree than earlier or later years. And that was the most difficult time I had ordering my yearly film favorites; the ones from that period, because I loved so many of them.
And I see the effect you're noting regarding the latter period. For me, the quality of my top films for each year has remained relatively consistent since the 50s, the quality of (for convenient example) my 5th top film for each year picked up quite a bit in the mid-90s.
As far as why these trends are happening, I don't know. My casual observation is that there seems to be less variation in world cinema over time - not that there's not a lot of variability in quality (there clearly is), but there's less variance between film industries than there used to be. There are plenty of counter examples to this, but I've found that telling the difference between US/French/Japanese/etc cinema was much easier in the 50s and 60s than it is today.
But I think you make a good point by bringing up alternative media - with the technology explosion the last couple decades, the underground creative artists are still pushing boundaries, but they're doing so in non-traditional formats. You have an idea for an innovative and intense mystery story? Sure, cameras are cheap now, but film distribution is a bitch. So why not do YouTube? Or why not get super creative and chop it up into segments and release it on reddit/twitter/IG/etc? Or as a mixed-media experience? Or any number of an infinite number of options I haven't mentioned? Some amazingly creative artists, I suspect, just aren't getting into traditional film because it's not easy.
On this note, two of the most satisfying "media" experiences I can recall both came out of the late 90s/early 00s. The first was the original Blair Witch. The commercials got me; the webpages sucked me in. It was the first "viral" marketing I can recall getting hooked into. There was just enough mystery around it that while I intellectually knew it wasn't real, my heart told me it might be. Hitting me not only with the movie (the ultimate goal), and not just with the TV commercials, but bringing in webpages, news stories, blogs, conspiracy sites, etc. made it something hard to duplicate now.
Similarly, the best mystery story I've ever been a part of was from my college days (early 2000s). I can't even remember the details of the mystery, as they're actually unimportant. But it's how it was structured. You read a blog post (or something similar) about a person with an issue - interesting enough that you clicked on the next one. The next post intensifies it a bit. And again. Etc. Then something happens, but there's an odd digital clue. And another. Suddenly, you're sucked in, looking at the HTML code for the site searching for a comment that might have a clue where to go next. Coolest experience I've had in a mystery to date.