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A Rhyme In Time

April 12, 2015

Mark Twain once mused that “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

In October of 2013, I blogged that after a century of collectively hallucinating in darkened theaters, in the opening years of cinema’s third century, it appeared we’d come full circle, back to the nickelodeon—think iPhones, iPods, iPads, all shapes and sizes of flat-screen TVs. We’re all watching what we want, how we want, when we want. At least that’s what we’re being told. And with the meter constantly ticking, our nickels do add up.

As I was drafting today’s entry, I was preoccupied with the present state of viewing, what with streaming and all. Was our collective movie experience, if any, still as potent as it had been at the beginning of the 20th century? Did the cinema, which exploded out of a dream, still retain any of its wonder given all our current delivery systems? Or has the magic dimmed, replaced by our insatiable appetite to be entertained every hour and every minute of every day?

Then, last week, the NYTimes reported that digital media companies “in a surprising turn” are seeking future growth, in what has not seemed novel since Thomas Edison or D. W. Griffith’s day: the feature-length motion picture. (New Companies See Movies as Opportunity for Growth, Mark Cieply, March 29, 2015)

What?

There are some digital brain trusts out there who now think—boom—are thinking classic movie formats still possess immense power.

Imagine, if you will, an audience, seated in a darkened theater, succumbing to the power of a feature film.

My mind boggles at the thought.

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