Academic journal article Framework

Cinephilia/Telephilia

Academic journal article Framework

Cinephilia/Telephilia

Article excerpt

Cinephilia and telephilia were born in different historical circumstances: the former in the 1960s, as an expression of an uttered project with the aim of returning to the cinema its right to be a work of art; the latter in the second half of 1980s, when the spread of recording and reproduction technologies allowed the spectator to release his/her viewing from the palimpsest's rigidity.

Despite their different origins, cinephilia and telephilia are two correspondent processes that assume, as the lexical isomorphism suggests, similar relations with the medium. They express a love relationship, a deep affinity with the medium, and by synecdoche, with some of its products.

The cinephile and telephile's spectatorship is characterized by:

(1) Regular attendance for a long time, uninterrupted and reduplicated (to watch a movie many times, as obsessed by it), so that it becomes a measure of passion and intimacy toward the apparatus and its works;

(2) An encyclopaedic knowledge, intimate and complete, of one's own chosen object, mainly focusing on less known, curious, and unusual aspects;

(3) An intense pleasure rising from affinity toward and identification with the medium and its works, which often includes its technological devices: the fetishistic pleasure shown by the cinephile for the movie and by the telephile for the DVD;

(4) A close interdependence between the viewing experience and identity-building projects (the cinephile and telephile invest in their relationship with the medium as a privileged place to build their own social image, whereas their advantage depends on the breadth and exclusiveness of the knowledge they will be able to show).

The search for the exclusiveness and intensity of this relationship finds expression in a different project attesting to the characteristics of the two media. Before examining the elements that characterize cinephilia and telephilia, we'd like to provide some more precise information. With the term telephilia, we mean that series of attitudes revealing, or longing for, a perfect identification/relationship with the TV medium. The search for and saving of "trash" programs should be regarded as an extension of the cinephile's attitude, revealing an estimate of the work's artistic and aesthetic value as well as of the medium itself.

First of all, the cinephile and telephile are characterized by different systems of values, whence the quality and uniqueness of the relationship with the medium is considered. To the cinephile the distinctive (and attractive) aspect is rarity, the peculiarity of the work, its exclusion from the commercial circuits intended to mass consumption. "Rare" is what is difficult to find and watch. The more difficult the viewing, the more the work's value and the advantages to the spectator. On the contrary, the barycenter of the telephile's value system lies in autonomy, that independence from the palimpsest's frame that justifies and demands its taking and preservation. By the term "autonomous" we mean what survives the original broadcast and is enjoyable out of the programming frame.

The aim of the cinephile is what we call "discovery:" the uniqueness of his relationship with the medium is measured by the ability of including in his spectatorship repertoire objects not to be found in the big distribution market. The aim of the telephile is to master the existent, to observe and wield control over TV scheduling (using the VCR), challenging and dominating programs' simultaneity by taking and storing segments from it. These two positions thus present different compositions of learning: a cinephile is a person endowed with textual and co-textual knowledge (who shot the movie, his former works, the technical details of his productions, etc.); a telephile is an expert of the text and context (how to get and store programs, which technological devices are needed, how to use them). The most important object to the cinephile is the movie itself; on the contrary the most valuable object to the telephile is not only the apparatus or the text, but also the hardware, which is held in high consideration because of its technological and aesthetic characteristics (the equipment's affectation, the design features, and how the whole fits at home). …

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