There is no essential form or content to cinephilia, but maybe there is something like an essential cinephile process or gesture. Let me put it this way: cinephilia is a war machine; a tactical, cultural war machine. Always a different war, and always a different machine, depending on where and when you are, who you’re fighting with, and what you’re fighting against. In this sense, everything that people have said about cinephilia – that it’s melancholic or surrealist or whatever – can be true, if it fits the particular piece of cinephile history, and if you can tell that story well, if you can give it a mobilising energy.
I don’t mean to suggest by this that the war machines of cinephilia are actually effective, that they actually have succeeded in changing the world, or its culture. Cinephilia is the history of a hundred failed revolutions. Sometimes the Great War is almost wholly imaginary; it’s happening in the columns of a little magazine somewhere, or in the program of an obscure film club. Maybe the heat-seeking missile launched by cinephilia mostly hits nothing. But the stories, the histories of cinephilia as motivating passion are there for good, if they have been somehow written or documented or caught, if the testament is there, and we can catch them in another time or place. If the telling of that history is inspired enough, it can connect with some part of the scenario of our own war machine.
Thanks to Justin for bringing this essay to my attention. I think there’s a lot here, positive and negative, to be mapped into indie games/#altgames and the eternal set of concerns that gets passed down under different names (I think those concerns are super important, in case it isn’t clear.)