Cinema is the art of the little detail that does not call attention
to itself.

                                      — François Truffaut

Perhaps it is not cinema which has ended, but only cinephilia—the name of a very specific kind of love that cinema inspired. Each art breeds its fanatics. The love that cinema inspired, however, was special. It was born of the conviction that cinema was an art unlike any other: quintessentially modern; distinctly accessible; poetic and mysterious and erotic and moral—all at the same time. Cinema had apostles (it was like religion). Cinema was a crusade. Cinema was a world view. Lovers of poetry or opera or dance don’t think there is only poetry or opera or dance. But lovers of cinema could think there was only cinema. That the movies encapsulated everything—and they did. It was both the book of art and the book of life.
                                     — Susan Sontag  “A Century of Cinema”

Cinema began in wonder, the wonder that reality can be transcribed with such magical immediacy. All of cinema is an attempt to perpetuate and to reinvent that sense of wonder…. The sheer ubiquity of moving images has steadily undermined the standards people once had both for cinema as art at its most serious and for cinema as popular entertainment…. Now the balance has tipped decisively in favor of  cinema as an industry. The great cinema of the 1960s and 1970s has been thoroughly repudiated…. Cinephilia itself has come under attack as something quaint, outmoded, snobbish. For cinephilia implies that films are unique, unrepeatable, magic experiences…
                                     — Susan Sontag  “A Century of Cinema”


Inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1996 New York Times article “The Decay of Cinema” and her 1997 essay “A Century of Cinema,” Mikel Rouse adds to the discourse on “cinephilia” with The End Of Cinematics. In its early days, there was much to discuss about forays into the world of cinema. Intellectual stimulation and passion for the art form drove the industry. Today, with 85% of the world’s movies coming out of Hollywood, a corporate formula driven by commerce has hijacked the film industry.

Yes, the film industry is the one art form that “rakes in money.” But does it challenge us? Is it still relevant? How has the communal, cinematic experience altered our existence? Is it still entertainment? How do the elements of dialogue, music, and image interact and impact us?

These are the questions Mikel Rouse raises in The End Of Cinematics. Drawing on the history of cinema from its early days with live music to today’s sophisticated sound and effect experiences as well as our experiences with music videos and MTV, Mikel Rouse creates a new kind of film experience. Both sensual and “hyper-real,” The End Of Cinematics embodies a thoughtful and creative approach to 21st-century art.


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September 17, 2005