When it comes to Chinese cinema, which we are part of, we seldom bring the concept of technology to the table. Maybe it’s lack of confidence, or maybe it’s not the right time yet. The long-existing habit of filmmaking and film watching in this environment has established conventional concept, method or event political correctness. Weakness and immature of technology are always easily forgiven for auteur films. The sloppy technique event became kind of ideology or identity at the certain period of time. Though we have never stop consuming and enjoying the outcome of technology, the ignorance of it in filmmaking still change the way we understand it. That makes technology such an unfamiliar term to us.
If we deliberately ignore the fact that film actually came to being as equipment and technical wonder, trying to look at it from a deeper angel. Film, or any other form of art and creation, is a kind of privilege of expression essentially. Though the expected audience might be thousands of miles or years away, yet the longing for express and narrate never cease. If lucky enough, we are able to look at all these works from a higher view, no matter historical or devine, we will see that all the attempts receive response, and all expressions forms communication. Film, or cinema itself, becomes the tool, language and technology of these connection.
Language carries our thoughts and in return determine the way we think. When people keep exploring and inventing new technology to achieve expression that is more accurate, delivery that is more efficient, perspective that is less limited, these aggressive technologies and innovations actually bring more challenge and make us feel even more helpless. Whether we are discussing ‘technology’ in or outside cinema, the term always implies more ways to be interpreted than we thought there would be. Apart from scientific technology, it can also be skill, technique, method or trick. In cinema, technology can be screening format, equipment of filming, cinematic language, genre, narrative method or more. In our daily life, it is the media of attention, innovation and creation, moral ethics and cultural custom, all the rules and other.
Once we extend our view to this, everything within or without cinema is questionable. Which one is the subject, the expression or the receiving? Or maybe the connection in between is leading the way? These extra space opened up by technology is filled with our doubts about self and insecure about communication. It goes beyond our recognition, again forces us to make changes and to find new method of communication.
Here we try to look into the interaction between the technology we invented and our life or cinema:
All the notion invented by us in our long history to generalize a group – language, religion, nation and region, are meant to establish a quick and safe connection between people. They are validated repeatedly yet gradually fails, as they blur the face of individuals and eventually disconnect people.
In a similar way, genre is a mature and effective pattern. Genre elements are repeated and strengthened in film industry to connect with the accurate group of audience. The development of genre reconnects the film with its audience, keeping creating new ways to convey and understand cinematic language by reset the connection over and over again.
Even when it comes to arthouse cinema that values much on the auteur’s self-expression, the involvement of technology is still inevitable. No matter its scriptwriting, filming, post-production or film viewing, each stage carries different approaches of technology. This might be the filmmaker’s choice, or just the technology’s own dynamic.
It’s not difficult to notice that cinema is getting increasingly powerless: this two-dimension-based medium that focuses on sight and sound is have more trouble presenting the internet world. The real world is more about rapid eye movement, about invisible generation and transformation of data, but less about the sight and sound we can capture. Maybe after over 20 years living in the Internet world, we are still not ready to reflect on the massive change it brought to us. Or maybe, our life starts to departure from cinema and we start to see the edge of cinema.What is most interesting about the reflection on technology is that everything starts with solid practice and eventually end up with questioning against everything. Maybe we are trying to build via questioning, or maybe all the questions are not going to get their answers and the world is merely collapsing. Apart from these films presented in this programme to answer our questions and challenge our experience, there are still so many films that we cannot present due to varied reasons. We did not present high-tech screening format like VR because we cannot meet the technique standard. We did not present live documentaries because it cost too much to replicate. These important elements’ absence seems to indicate the insecure of the screening system of film festival. We are not frightened by this, because when we see the edge, we know how far we can go. When a system fails, new language will appear, even though it comes with strains and challenges.