Off Topic: Film Criticism in the Age of the Internet

Aaron Gerow aaron.gerow at
Tue Sep 23 18:46:54 EDT 2008

Just some quick comments:

First, the general impression amongst film critics in Japan is that  
film criticism is dying. In traditional publishing, there are few  
avenues to publish criticism and the new movie magazines that have  
appeared in the last few years are utterly devoid of critical  
writing. Even several of the English language newspapers, one of  
which I used to write for, have abandoned film criticism.

Many blame the internet for this. They cite internet film criticism,  
which in most cases is just a few lines of commentary about how the  
film made you feel, as that which has supplanted serious film  
criticism. I recognize there are serious ideologies involved in these  
distinctions, but the fact is that there is no internet publication  
in Japan that supports concerted criticism. Individual critics have  
set up their own sites like boid, but none are commercially  
sustainable and often descend into just blog commentary by the  
individual running them.

One can perhaps say that the internet is a site for active discussion  
of film in Japan, but given how it has tended to be defined as  
essentially a consumerist, not a critical activity, I have not seen  
the internet being productive for film in Japan the way the Cineaste  
people talk about in the West, i.e., the generation of interest in  
filmmakers/films that would otherwise be ignored in the market or the  
major media. Maybe I've missed it, but can anyone think of the  
release of any older or less recognized Japanese filmmaker on DVD in  
Japan because of internet buzz?

Aaron Gerow
Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University
53 Wall Street, Room 316
PO Box 208363
New Haven, CT 06520-8363
Phone: 1-203-432-7082
Fax: 1-203-432-6764
e-mail: aaron.gerow at

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