Incomplete Notes on the Character of the New Cinema

Travis Wilkerson

The cinema is in crisis. It neither apprehends our reality in an honest way nor does it aid us in imagining a different kind of future. It is suffocated by a set of anachronistic conventions dictated by the agents of commerce. What follows are incomplete notes on the basis for a new cinema practice:

The absence of verisimilitude in the corporate cinema has reconfirmed the essential radicalism of critical realism. But the new cinema will also reflect the fact that, as bb has observed, “realism is not simply a matter of form.”

Instead of asking whether images change the world (a question whose answer now seems obvious), the new cinema seeks to discover what should be changed, and how.

The new cinema recognizes that any apprehension of the present is predicated upon an understanding of the past. Likewise, a new future can only be imagined after an understanding of the present is attained.

The new cinema doesn’t concern itself with technological debates, particularly the antagonisms of analogue against digital. It employs, without prejudice, any and all tools available to it.

The new cinema can only exist in a state as unfinished and incomplete as the world it aims to mirror and engage.

The new cinema should strive for beauty, but never perfection.

That which has been viewed as beautiful, the new cinema will regard as ugly.

That which has been seen as ugly, the new cinema will regard as beautiful.

Clarity is a form of beauty. Mystification is a form of defeat.

The new cinema refuses to recognize national borders. It identifies itself neither as fiction nor as documentary. Likewise, it is unconcerned with genre, which is useful only to the agents of commerce.

Popular culture is neither. The new cinema will strive to return popular culture to the people themselves.