The Vitality of Cinema with Post-cinematic Affect

As Shane Denson indicated, last century was the era of cinema and television which shaped our cultural sensibilities, whereas, with the development of technologies, cinema is declining, on the contrary, digital media tends to predominate in audiences.

“Movies (moving image and sound works) continue to be made, but they have adopted new formal strategies, they are viewed under massively changed conditions, and they address their spectators in different ways than was the case in the 20th century” (Denson, 2011).

Take Southland Tales for instance, post-cinematic affect might be a new formal strategy. Southland Tales is a film directed by Richard Kelly relating to time travel, in which, the narration is fragmental, unstructured and incoherent rather than linear, spatial, temporal(Shaviro, 2010:64), revealing the floating consciousness. The structure of feeling in Southland Tales is considered as a prominent feature of post-cinematic affect, generated from the formal techniques of television, video, and digital media, it seems not to be a film, while its grand ambitions promote it in the vicinity of a big-screen movie (Shaviro, 2010).

As Elena del Río indicated, “like an expired body that blends with the dirt to form new molecules and living organisms, the body of cinema continues to blend with other image/sound technologies in processes of composition/decomposition that breed images with new speeds and new distributions of intensities” (Elena del Río, 2016). Decades ago, it seemed that cinema was on the wane, giving way to the computer and new digital media, however, post-cinematic affect transformed this situation. Digital technologies and neoliberal economic relations transformed the society including manufacturing, articulating, daily life (Shaviro, 2016). Therefore, the cinema, in its predicament, adopted digital technologies into films with wisdom, ostensibly, digital media and the structure of feeling catching audiences’ attention once more, consequently, cinema demonstrates its vitality with the latest technology.

Written by Zifei Xu


Denson, S.(2011). Steven Shaviro on the “the post-cinematic”. Available from [Accessed 16 March 2017]

Denson, S. and Leyda, J.(2016).  Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film. Reframe Books.

Shaviro, S.(2010). Post-Cinematic Affect: On Grace Jones, Boarding Gate and Southland Tales. Film-Philosophy. Available from [Accessed 16 March 2017]

Río, E.D.(2016). Cinema’s Exhaustion and the Vitality of Affect. Available from [Accessed 16 March 2017]


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