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The Decay of Cinema

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In his recent essay Il Maestro, Martin Scorsese critiqued our modern media culture, where movies are little more than content and algorithms drive film exhibition. Salient though his words are, Scorsese is not the first to lament cinematic loss. This video essay puts Scorsese in conversation with Susan Sontag’s 1996 essay The Decay of Cinema and probes deeper into what exactly is lost in the movie from cinema to content, and why cinephilia is worth fighting for.

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Works Cited:

The Decay of Cinema. 1996. Susan Sontag. –
Il Maestro. 2021. Martin Scorsese –
The Movie Vampire reviews A Sun. 2021. –
Film Review: A Sun. 2020. Peter Debruge. –
The Best Films of 2020. 2020. Peter Debruge and Owen Gleiberman. –
Netflix Will Keep ‘Friends’ Through Next Year in a $100 Million Agreement. 2018. Edmund Lee. –
‘The Office’ was always popular. But Netflix made it a phenomenon. 2019. Sonia Rao. –

Music Featured:

Both Flanks by Small Colin
Fragmented Pianos by Mikael Lind
Setup with an E by Small Colin
Hello Michael! by Loyalty Freak Music
Carnival by smallertide
Janie’s Theme by Sacred Ape

More Eyebrow Cinema:

Hierarchies of Violence in The Shining –
Star Wars Can’t Move On –
Movie Theaters and the Value of Inconvenience –
How Terence Young Made James Bond –
What is the Appeal of Friday the 13th –
The Indifference of The Birds –
Dawn of the Dead and the Happy Consumer –
Inception and The Dreamer –
The Curious Case of Forrest and Benjamin –
Fan Entitlement and the Quick Fix –
Summer with Monika – Breaking the Fourth Wall –
Learning to Love Batman Returns –
The Apartment and How to Write Movies Good –
Silent Films are Like Hard Liquor: A Guide to Silent Movies –
Night of the Living Dead and the Prison of Intent –
Once Upon a Time in the West – Setting the Stage –
Indiana Jones – The Face of Jewish Vengeance –
The Citizen Kane Effect and the Rashomon Test –
Barry Lyndon – The Unworthy Protagonist –


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