Especially since the 1990s, a wide range of texts –from academic debates on postcinema/postmedia to journalistic articles mourning the ‘Decay of Cinema’– about cinephilian film culture has developed a nostalgic tone in their consideration of a past, combining historiographical reflections and autobiographical insights. The present essay analyses the main characteristics of cinephilian discourses since the 1950s and proposes in the first place a periodization that distinguishes between a classic phase (approx. 1945-1968) and a modern one (approx. 1968-late 1970s). Based on this distinction, this paper seeks also to analyse the way the constant revision (and reconstruction) of the cinephilian past is not just another consequence of the often mentioned ‘Death of the Cinema’, but an essential attribute of the cinephilian discourse since at least the 1950s as well as a further example of a (temporal) shift inherent to this discourse.
Cinefilia, film criticism, film theory, film history, nostalgia, Cahiers du cinéma