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post-september 11
The relationship of Hollywood and our entertainment culture to the events of Sept. 11 has been on many people's minds. Here's a collection of links to articles from The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and other publications, about how we view Hollywood -- and how Hollywood views itself -- in the long shadow of Sept. 11.
"A Time for Movies to Matter Again, if They Can"

"[W]e don't trust Hollywood any longer to know us, the mood or the moment, because for years the movie makers thought that the 17-year-old mind was the heart of America, that we wanted pictures as frivolous and dumb as 'Pearl Harbor.' They never felt our aching. They weren't looking at us. They never knew the yearning."
(New York Times, Nov. 4, 2001; registration required.)

"Death to U.S., but Not Films"

"Since the United States began bombing Afghanistan, a chorus of anti-American rhetoric has filled the streets of the Muslim world from Indonesia to Pakistan to the Middle East. But there is one place where many Muslims still warmly embrace what America has to offer -- the local cinema."
(CalendarLive on, Oct. 31, 2001)

"Back to the Future"

"When real-life disasters hit, American movies tend to leave the hard work of analysis and healing to television docudramas, cable presentations and independent documentaries. Unfit for the big screen, headlines become fodder for the small one; important subjects are scorned as 'movie of the week' fare. Calamities like the AIDS epidemic, for example, were covered by independent videos and films years ahead of the movie industry."
(The Nation, Oct. 15, 2001)

"This Is Not a Movie"

"Warner Bros. has postponed the release of 'Collateral Damage,' an Arnold Schwarzenegger picture in which a skyscraper is bombed; if Schwarzenegger wants to do the right thing, he could tell them to cut their losses and drop the movie, and thus inform moviegoers that the genre, and his own dominance within it, has officially come to a close. That the destruction of the World Trade Center might mean goodbye and good riddance to the blockbuster would be among the most trivial of its many effects, and yet it would somehow hit a national nerve."
(The New Yorker, Sept. 24, 2001)

"Terror Cleansing"

"The post-Sept. 11 sanitizing of American pop culture seemed tasteful, even impressive, at first. A horrific tragedy had occurred, and the gatekeepers of mass media took it upon themselves to spare us the usual onslaught of crudeness. ... [T]he country's formerly coarse, mindless, vapid commercial noises were right there raising the bar for civilization. Then that first week ended."
(, Oct. 19, 2001)

"Do Violent Films Shape or Reflect?"

"To what extent do Americans' views about retaliation, revenge, and warfare come more from decades of popular entertainment rather than from sustained reflections on history and morality?"
(Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 26, 2001)

"Oliver Stone's Chaos Theory"

"'These six companies have control of the world,' [Stone] said, referring to such corporations as Fox and AOL Time Warner. His voice grew louder as his ideas took shape. 'Michael Eisner decides, 'I can't make a movie about Martin Luther King, Jr. -- they'll be rioting at the gates of Disneyland!' That's bullshit! But that's what the new world order is.' There was a storm of applause. 'They control culture, they control ideas. And I think the revolt of September 11th was about 'Fuck you! Fuck your order--' 'Excuse me,' a fellow-panelist, Christopher Hitchens, said. 'Revolt?' 'Whatever you want to call it,' Stone said. 'It was state-supported mass murder, using civilians as missiles,' said Hitchens."
(The New Yorker, Oct. 22, 2001)

"Hollywood in Wartime: Lessons of Pearl Harbor"

"The present appeal of movies made during World War II is obvious enough, and has been apparent in the 'greatest generation' worship of the past few years. It is tempting to view the 1940's as a less ambiguous, simpler time, in which the moral choices were clearer and the cultural responses to them emphatically and intuitively appropriate. The reality at the time, of course, was more complicated, but the glory of wartime Hollywood nonetheless exerts a powerful nostalgic pull."
(New York Times, Nov. 4, 2001; registration required.)

"Hooray for Hollywood -- at Least for Now"

"It's showing restraint, sensitivity, and generosity in the wake of Sept. 11. How much longer can that attitude last?"
(BusinessWeek Online, Sept. 21, 2001)

"Top Guns"

"If these assorted network, studio, and guild leaders are able to accomplish anything for the war effort or the Bush administration (so far, the only concrete request was for extra DVDs), it is not for cynical reasons. It is because right now they are feeling, like you and me, heart-thumpingly patriotic. It is actually sweet. (Never forget how many transplanted New Yorkers are here.) In the words of my favorite Variety headline of all time, 'Showbiz Rocked by Real Life.'"
(, Nov. 14, 2001)

"The Movies' Military Strike"

"Soon after the terrorist attacks, the conventional wisdom was that comedies and escapist fare would play best to shaken American audiences. But the post-attack success of harder-edged violent films such as 'Training Day' and 'Don't Say a Word' showed that not to be the case."
(CalendarLive on, Nov. 5, 2001)

"The Mainstreaming of Indies"

"Indies now form an industry that runs not so much against Hollywood as parallel to Hollywood. American culture has two legitimate film industries, mainstream and independent, each grounded in its own organizational structure." An excerpt from Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film (1999), by Emanuel Levy.
"Out on the Ledge"

"In the increasingly crowded world of independent film, truly risky material is being squeezed out."
(Los Angeles Times, Sept. 9, 2001)

The New Math"

"The fact is that after a 10-year indie boom, independent cinema seems to be receding into the brackish depths where it waited out most of the 1980s. Even if such depths are nothing more or less than the Hollywood of today."
(LA Weekly, June 8-14, 2001)

"Richard Linklater, 'Slacker' for the New Millennium"

"'Reinvent cinema.' That's such a big concept," says filmmaker Richard Linklater in this interview. "Maybe a subtler word would be renew. I've always tried to do that in my own way, try to tell stories that haven't been told or try to go to places in your head that haven't been seen on film."
(indieWIRE, Jan. 9, 2001)

"Whither the Broadband Revolution?"

"A slowdown in consumer broadband use could throttle new subscription services just as the future of digital entertainment appears on the horizon.... While consumers initially flocked to receive broadband access, only 10 percent of the United States population has signed on, and growth now is leveling off, according to the Federal Communications Commission."
(Wired News, Nov. 5, 2001)

"Has Hollywood Met Its Napster?"

"Thousands of films are illegally distributed over the internet free. But the big studios are fighting back in the belief that consumers prefer to pay for the privilege."
(The Guardian, Oct. 29, 2001)

"Video-on-Demand, Hollywood Style"

"In a bid to thwart Napster-style upstarts, five of Tinseltown's top players have struck a deal to standardize distribution over the Web."
(Business Week Online, Aug. 21, 2001)

"Net-to-Set Convergence Is a Story Currently in Development"

"Sonicblue, maker of the precedent-setting Rio MP3 players, said it would release in November the first digital video recorder that links the Net to the TV. The new ReplayTV model is part of a coming wave of devices that could be used to download and view the studios' online films, or any other digital media, on a television. ..."
(Los Angeles Times, Sept. 13, 2001)

"Is Hollywood Net-Ready?"

"As the major Hollywood studios embark on the most ambitious Internet film distribution project to date, experts warn that delivering huge multimedia files to potentially millions of consumers will be a daunting and costly task."
(InternetWeek, Aug. 23, 2001)

"Securing the Broadband Revolution"

"Last week, five movie studios announced a joint venture that would provide video-on-demand services over the Internet encoded with Sony's 'Moviefly' digital rights management technology. They're hoping this will fend off Napster-like file-swapping services that have plagued the music industry."
(Wired News, Aug. 22, 2001)

"Picture the Future"

"The Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, run by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.'s Panasonic Technologies Inc. subsidiary, was set up in April to help an industry that lives and breathes in celluloid evolve into a digital medium."
(Broadband Week, July 9, 2001)

"Broadband's Coming Attractions"

"The hype is that broadband will transform entertainment, changing everything from how we watch movies to the video games that we play. The reality doesn't exactly match up."
(Technology Review, June 2001)

"Digital Deluge"

"Low-budget digital film-making is here to stay and some directors love it. But what are the consequences for British cultural films if DV is the only option? Nick James asks five film-makers, one writer and a Film Council funder if it really is 'Digital or Die?'"
(Sight and Sound [UK], October 2001)

"The Auteur as Gearhead"

"Notes on the digital video revolution, part one."
(LA Weekly, Nov. 5-11, 1999)

"Pixel This"

"Digital filmmaking, part two."
(LA Weekly, Nov. 12-18, 1999)


"Multiply 'The Blair Witch Project' by a thousand, then turbocharge it with the marketing, distribution, and screening power of the Net."
(Wired, October 1999)

"Independents Day"

"Digital video is smashing the celluloid ceiling."
(Wired, Oct 1999)

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