The Screening of America

posted by Michael Zoldessy on December 1, 2008 at 10:55 am

A.O. Scott of the New York Times looks at how our viewing patterns of films has changed and what the future may hold.

A short time ago, in honor of the impending holiday season and the looming depression, I settled in for a viewing of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I watched it on the same laptop on which I’m writing these words, with headphones plugged in to filter out distraction, though from time to time I did shrink the image so I could check my e-mail or my favorite blogs.

Did this compromise my experience of the movie? Maybe, but then again, compared to what? Hadn’t there always been commercial breaks and scenes interrupted by a trip to the bathroom or the refrigerator? As I watched Jimmy Stewart discover Zuzu’s petals in his pocket for at least the 20th time, I realized that “It’s a Wonderful Life” — like “Casablanca” and “Ben-Hur” and most of Ingmar Bergman and James Bond, among countless others — was a film I had never seen as a film. I’d never seen it projected through a dark room full of strangers onto a big screen.

Read the full story in the New York Times.

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