It’s a Race

At the point of transition, many scholars are caught asking: What exactly is “new” about the digital age?  While emerging media platforms tend to be experimental and self-reflexive, they are also necessarily rooted in past experience (Thorburn & Jenkins 2003, 7).  But these opposing aspects are still parts of the same ongoing process in which the medium attempts to find its own place relative to existing formats.  The cinema began by borrowing from theatre, photography and prose and was consequently imitated by others (Thorburn & Jenkins 2003, 10).  Perhaps now it is borrowing even from itself by imitating those who imitated it.  Yet, it is overly reductive to say that technology had no effect on the medium.  Even though movies are still being made with familiar techniques, digital imagery did significantly altered how films are produced.  Thus, the digital gives us a new horizon, a new perspective to think about cinema (Elsaesse 1998, 204).  It is useful for us to think of the digital age as “evolution, not revolution” (Thorburn & Jenkins 2003, 12).  And evolution brings with it uncertainties about the future, about the intermingling of the old and the new, and about how history will catch up to us.  Now we turn to look at District 9 and how it embodies this confusion of a cinema in transition.

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