The advent of new digital technology has displaced the medium of photographic film—and, perhaps, the reality on which it once depended. With locations, sets and cameras now optional, the history of motion pictures has become the history of animation.
This sea change in filmmaking spanned the 2000 American presidential election and the trauma of 9/11, events that reshaped world politics and left an indelible imprint on the emerging aesthetic of the new century’s cinema. A rupture opened up in the evolution of film, presaging, as Susan Sontag forlornly predicted a few years earlier, the death of cinephilia, or at least cinephilia as we know it.
Film After Film expands on an Artforum article by Hoberman before moving on to a chronicle of the Bush years in cinema (featuring reviews from Hoberman’s final decade at the Village Voice). The book concludes with considerations of the twenty-one central movies of the twenty-first century, which include works by Lars von Trier and Jia Zhangke as well as the hi-tech spectacles WALL-E and Avatar.