‘petrification’

Yet Mekas also perceived important changes, for the worse and for the better, in the cinematic circle to which he belonged and that he loved. In March, 1970, he noted,

‘I know that the civil war of the nonnarrative and noncommercial film versus the commercial and narrative film has been clearly won. The existence of nonnarrative film forms in addition to narrative films has been established. Particularly one feels this when one leaves New York and visits the universities and small colleges.’

In October of the same year, he asserted, ‘As we all know, the underground film scene in New York today is at a low ebb.’ He didn’t suggest a connection between the two phenomena. Yet the canonization of so-called experimental films in universities is precisely the reason both for these films’ endurance and for their petrification. A recent resurgence of interest in the genre is due precisely to their prominence in cinema studies.

-Richard Brody ‘Jonas Mekas, Champion of the “Poetic” Cinema‘ The New Yorker

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