Cinephilia (//; also cinemaphilia or filmophilia) is the term used to refer to a passionate interest in films, film theory, and film criticism. The term is a portmanteau of the words cinema and philia, one of the four ancient Greek words for love. A person with a passionate interest in cinema is called a cinephile (//), cinemaphile, filmophile, or, informally, a film buff (also movie buff). To a cinephile, a movie is not just a form of entertainment as they see films from a more critical point of view.
In a review of a book on the history of cinephilia, Mas Generis writes: "Cinephilia, is the condition of a sexual attraction to movies." Generis also introduces a quote from film scholar Annette Michelson that states that there is, "No one such thing as cinephilia, but rather forms and periods of cinephilia." As described by Antoine de Baecque and Thierry Frémaux, "The definitive essence of cinephilia is a culture of the discarded that prefers to find intellectual coherence where none is evident and to eulogize the non-standard and the minor."
Film historian Thomas Elsaesser writes that it "reverberates with nostalgia and dedication... more than a passion of going to the movies and only a little less than an entire attitude towards life".
Since the beginning of the silent era, there have been film clubs and publications in which people who felt passionately about cinema could discuss their interests and see rare and older works. At the beginning of the sound era, there were more and more people interested in seeing older films, which led to the establishment of organizations such as the Cinémathèque Française, the first major archive devoted to film preservation.
Post-war French cinephilia
A notable cinephilic community of the 20th century was the one that developed in Paris in the decades following World War II. An influx of foreign films that had been withheld during the Occupation, as well as the screening programs of local film clubs and the Cinémathèque Française, generated interest in world cinema amongst the city's intellectual youth culture. In general, the cinephiles of the period set a template for future like-minded groups by having keen enthusiasm for both older and contemporary films.
Influential film clubs of the period included Objectif 49, whose members included Robert Bresson and Jean Cocteau, and the Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin (Cinema Club of the Latin Quarter). Revue du Cinéma, a magazine published by members of the two clubs, later evolved into the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma.
Many of the people who attended the screenings became film critics and later filmmakers, founding the film movement known as the French New Wave. André Bazin, François Truffaut, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Alexandre Astruc, Jacques Rivette, Luc Moullet and others were regulars, and several, most notably Truffaut, maintained their ties to the community after they had achieved fame.
The community fostered an interest in directors and films that had been neglected, forgotten or simply unknown in the West, and led to the development of the auteur theory. The directors the French cinephiles of the period had strong interests in included F. W. Murnau, Robert Flaherty, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Renoir, Jean Vigo, Orson Welles, Anthony Mann, Louis Feuillade, D. W. Griffith, the Lumière brothers, Alfred Hitchcock and Georges Méliès, whose films would be screened from nitrate prints on special occasions.
Filmgoing in the 1960s and 1970s
With the popular success of the French New Wave, film-going became fashionable in Europe and America. Revival screenings and independently run cinemas specializing in foreign films became increasingly common. In the United States, New York City was often seen as the center of cinephile culture, due to the wide variety of films available to see at any given time. This culture was also helped by the popularity in America of figures such like Pauline Kael, Andrew Sarris and Susan Sontag. Certain writers and critics, including Sontag, would later come to view this as the "Golden Age" of film-going in the US. Directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini enjoyed a great deal of popularity in the US and influenced the young generation of film enthusiasts who would become the New Hollywood, including Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola and Woody Allen. Due to growing public interest in films from other countries, specialty distributors such as Janus Films and New Yorker Films began importing and subtitling foreign movies.
The era also saw the growth of college film societies in the US. Though some, like Doc Films at the University of Chicago, had existed since the 1930s, the 1960s saw directors of all generations regularly make appearances at college campuses, whether to revisit their old films or to discuss new ones.
At the same time, the Parisian cinephilic culture became increasingly politicized. Critics, and by extension the cinephiles who followed their work, began to emphasize political aspects of films and directors. Though many of the major figures of the post-war community has been originally aligned with the political right—including most of the Cahiers du cinéma group—by the late 1960s Cahiers and the young cinephile public in general had aligned with various forms of the Left, with some figures, such as Jean-Luc Godard, aligning with Maoism. In this very politicized climate, cinema was often seen as directly connected to Marxism. Many members of this new generation of cinephiles would become critics and directors, including Serge Daney, Philippe Garrel, and André Téchiné.
Though most of the world's major film festivals had existed for decades by this point—including the Berlin International Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival—the period saw the establishment of festivals in nearly every major city. The New York Film Festival, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival were all started during this time. The Toronto International Film Festival, often seen as second only to the Cannes Film Festival in terms of importance, was founded towards the end of this period, in 1976.
Home video and the late 20th century
While Japanese films have enjoyed worldwide distribution in the mid 20th century, the late 20th century saw an increase in interest amongst cinephiles in cinema from other Asian countries, especially China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and, later, Thailand.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, blogging has become a large part of cinephile culture. In the English-speaking world, established critics and theorists like Dave Kehr, David Bordwell, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Glenn Kenny, Wheeler Winston Dixon and Adrian Martin, as well as non-professional cinephiles like Girish Shambu played key roles in building interest in films or theories amongst cinephiles by writing and communicating through blogs. Forums and podcasts have become popular ways to stir discussion, allowing cinephiles from different countries and cultures to discuss ideas about film. The social networking and video streaming service MUBI caters specifically to cinephiles, allowing its members access to films that sometimes haven't been distributed theatrically or on video in their home countries. Home video distribution labels and distributors such as The Criterion Collection, Masters of Cinema, Facets, Vinegar Syndrome and Kino cater to cinephiles, often including large amounts of supplemental and critical material with their releases.
As was the case with the French cinephilia of the post-war era, the international cinephilic community that has developed on the Internet often emphasizes films and figures that do not have strong critical or popular recognition, including many directors who work within genre film, in what is sometimes dubbed vulgar auteurism. These include Justin Lin, Abel Ferrara, Michael Mann, Roland Emmerich, The Farrelly Brothers, Michael Bay, John Carpenter, Kathryn Bigelow, James Gray, David Fincher, M. Night Shyamalan, Brian De Palma and Tony Scott.
In popular culture
Cinephilia and filmmaking
Throughout the history of cinema, there have been numerous directors who developed their understanding of cinema through filmgoing and participation in cinephile communities and organizations instead of within the formal settings of either a film school or a film studio.
The directors of the French New Wave, who learned about filmmaking by attending screenings at film clubs and discussing movies amongst themselves, are often seen as models for cinephiles. Their intellectual omnivorousness, which equated an interest in cinema with strong understandings of literature, art and sometimes philosophy, has continued to have influence on cinephiles.
On the other hand, many directors emphasize their lack of cinephilia or interest in movies as in the cases of Abbas Kiarostami and Peter Greenaway, while acclaimed by cinephiles, often emphasized their disinterests in cinema when interviewed.
List of notable directors who are noted cinephiles
- Barry Jenkins
- Bong Joon Ho
- Spike Lee
- Guillermo del Toro
- John Waters
- Todd Haynes
- Quentin Tarantino
- Sofia Coppola
- Greta Gerwig
- Jim Jarmusch
- Alexander Payne
- Martin Scorsese
- The Wachowskis
- Paul Thomas Anderson
- Brad Bird
- Richard Linklater
- The Safdies
- The Coens
- Nicolas Winding Refn
- Noah Baumbach
- Wes Anderson
- Edgar Wright
- James Gray
- Ari Aster
- Sam Raimi
- James Gunn
- Ed Wood
- Paul Schrader
- James Baldwin
- Lana Del Rey
- Bill Hader
- Hideo Kojima
- Frank Ocean
- Patton Oswalt
- J. D. Salinger
- The Weeknd
There has also been different forms of cinephobia (fear or hatred of cinema) from the fear of "losing" celluloid film in the digital age through anxieties about moral values on the big screen to the point of censorship.
The anime fandom, which nevertheless has a strong interest in a specific type of television, features a highly divergent subculture with roots in the science fiction fandom rather than cinephilia; thus, it is not generally categorized as a subset of telephilia.
Telephilia from 2000s onwards
It is also said to rival cinephilia for relevance as production values are higher than ever before on shows such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Homeland. Despite this development, there are still intellectuals  who consider telephilia as inferior to cinephilia particularly in cases of obsessions for modern television programs belonging to genres such as melodrama and soap opera. This is also explained by the view that highlighted the unattainable nature of the cinema, which makes it more desirable and extraordinary since it features a regime of presence-yet-absence filmic image, allowing a form of cinematic stardom capable of triggering a series of psychic mechanisms. This is contrasted with television, which is perceived to be more present and immediate—with its stars "famous only in so far as he or she makes frequent television appearances." Some observers, however, note that there is now a destabilization of traditional notions of what constitutes cinephilic tendency due to the availability of film on home media technology.
- Auteur – film equivalent's of a literary author
- Audiophilia – love of high-fidelity sound reproduction
- Vulgar auteurism – A latter-day resurgent focus on mainstream directors of modern popcorn cinema
- Bibliophilia – love of books
- Cinemania, a 2002 documentary about New York cinephiles
- Comicphilia – love of comic books
- The Snob's Dictionary, a humorous look at snobbery by author Dave Kemp
- Videophilia – love of high-quality image reproduction
- Postmodernist film – similar in content
- Mystery Science Theater 3000-Cult TV show featuring films considered the worst
- The Incredibly Strange Film Show-Another cinema-based series featuring notable cult filmmakers
- Z Channel-Los Angeles-based TV channel which featured popular and obscure films that was also the subject of a 2004 documentary
- de Valck, Marijke; Hagener, Malte, eds. (2005). Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 90-5356-768-2.
- Generis, Mas (11 December 2006). "Cinephilia now: review of Cinephilia: movies, love and memory". Screening the Past. La Trobe University (20). Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved November 7, 2009.
- Keathley, Christian. Cinephilia and history, or, The wind in the trees. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2005.
- "Is Fandom the New Cinephilia?"
- L'association - La Cinémathèque française
- Web Translator
- Le fantôme d'Henri Langlois. Dir. Jacques Richard. DVD. Kino Video, 2004.
- Cinephobia-Manohla Dargis of The LA Weekly
- 10 Best Documentaries About Movies Every Cinephile Should See - Taste of Cinema
- Richard Linklater and the VHS Generation|White City Cinema
- A Property of Movies: A Conversation with Brian De Palma on Notebook|MUBI
- Beyond the subtitle: remapping European art cinema: Betz, Mark - Internet Archive (pg.1)
- The Auteurs' Notebook: Anticipating "Public Enemies"
- Glenn Kenny: The Mann Act
- Film Comment: Film Criticism in Crisis Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Fast & Furious & Elegant: Justin Lin and the Vulgar Auteurs|Village Voice
- Vulgar Auteurism: A Guide Or: The "Mann-Scott-Baysians"-MUBI
- Vulgar Auteurism-Film Theory
- The Golden Age of TV: Rise of the Television Auteur|Facets Features
- Army of Milla: Resident Evil and Modern Auteurism-End of Cinema
- Secret Defense: Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” on Notebook|MUBI
- Brody, Richard. "A Few Thoughts on Vulgar Auteurism". The New Yorker.
- The artistic genius of Michael Bay – Macleans.ca
- Expressive Esoterica in the 21st Century—Or: What Is Vulgar Auteurism?|Peter Labuza
- What the Insular Debate on ‘Vulgar Auteurism’ Says About Contemporary Movie Criticism and…|Film School Rejects
- Adnan Virk takes his Cinephile podcast to Meadowlark Media - Awful Announcing
- The Movies Aren't Dying (They're Not Even Sick)-Richard Brody of The New Yorker
- Beyond the subtitle: remapping European art cinema: Betz, Mark - Internet Archive (pg.3)
- Provocative aesthetics: British director and artist Peter Greenaway turns 75|Film|DW|05.04.2017
- 10 Famous Arthouse Movies That Are Too Self-Indulgent — Taste of Cinema
- Peter Greenaway: I've seven productive years left to finish 30 projects|South China Morning Post
- Adventures in Moviegoing with Barry Jenkins|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- Bong Joon Ho’s Favorite Movies: 35 Films the Director Wants You to See|IndieWire
- Spike Lee Reflects on Eve of American Cinematheque Honor - Variety
- Tragedy hits and Spike Lee rewrites 'BlacKkKlansman' - Associated Press News
- Spike Lee Accepts American Cinematheque Award from ‘Da 5 Bloods’ Cast|IndieWire
- Guillermo del Toro on Watership Down|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- John Waters' Top Ten 2017 Films Include 'Baby Driver' & 'Wonderstruck'|IndieWire
- Todd Haynes: 'All my movies are critical abd financial disappointments intitially'|The Irish Times
- Quentin Taratino's Favorite Movies: 30 Films to See|IndieWire
- Sofia Coppola Looks Back on Growing Up Cinephile|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- Greta Gerwig shows skill as director with debut, 'Lady Bird' - The Mercury News
- Stranger Than Paradise: Enter Jarmusch|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- The Bard of Omaha - The New York Times
- Martin Scorsese Favorite Films: 85 Classics He Would Teach In School|IndieWire
- The Matrix - The New Yorker
- Paul Thomas Anderson's Favorite Films: 35 Films to See|IndieWire
- Paul Thomas Anderson's LA|Longform - EW.com
- After 14 long years, ‘Incredibles 2' picks up with its family of suburban superheroes - Los Angeles Times
- '21 Years: Richard Linklater':Film Review|Hollywood Reporter
- Richard Linklater and the VHS Generation|White City Cinema
- The Safdie brothers on making crime thriller Uncut Gems|Financial Times
- Le Cinéma Club|JOHN'S GONE
- From Kubrick to Polanski: A list of the Coen Brothers' 30 favorite films|Far Out Magazine
- DGA Quarterly Magazine|Summer 2012|Independent Voice - Nicolas Winding Refn
- Noah Baumbach Reveals the Key Movies That Made Him Want to Be a Filmmaker|IndieWire
- How Brian De Palma influenced the films of Noah Baumbach - Little White Lies
- Edgar Wright On How Cinemas Can Win The Netflix Battle - Deadline
- James Gray's Ad Astra|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- Ari Aster Breaks Down 10 Movies that Inspired Midsommer|IndieWire
- The Evil Dead: How Sam Raimi's Movie Compares To Equinox (Did He Rip It Off?) - ScreenRant
- James Gunn’s Favorite Superhero Movie Might Surprise You - CINEMABLEND
- The awful, wonderful integrity of Plan 9 From Outer Space/The Dissolve
- Retrospective: The Directorial Career of Paul Schrader|IndieWire
- James Baldwin and the Movies|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- Lockett, Dee (2017-07-21). "The Most Lana Del Rey Things Lana Del Rey Says on Lust for Life". Vulture. Retrieved 2021-07-17.
- Exclusive: Bill Hader Lists the Films That Inspired Him to Become a Filmmaker|Collider
- Parkin, Simon (May 23, 2012). "Hideo Kojima: video game drop-out – interview part 1". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved September 7, 2020.
- Did You See This?|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- Frank Ocean's 100 Favorite Films: 'Blue Velvet', 'Solaris' and More|IndieWire
- Patton Oswalt on His New Memoir, 'Silver Screen Fiend', and His Dream Dinner Guests|Hollywood Reporter
- J.D. Salinger, Movie Lover|The Current|The Criterion Collection
- How the Weeknd Came to Play Himself in the Safdie Brothers’ Berserk ‘Uncut Gems’ - Variety
- Cinephilia - Cinema and Media Studies c- Oxford Bibliographies
- Cinephobia: To Wonder, To Worry-lolajournal.com
- Cinephilia / Cinephobia: New Mediations of Desire and Disgust-University of Pittsburgh
- Night Surfing: On Telephilia·Senses of Cinema
- "The Namibian". www.namibian.com.na.
- "Cultivating TV aesthetics".
- Making A Case For The ’90s, Television’s ‘Other’ Golden Age-UPROXX
- Why the Golden Age of TV Was Really Born in the 1980s-Vulture
- Casetti, Francesco; Fanchi, Mariagrazia (17 August 2017). "Cinephilia/Telephilia". Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media. 45 (2): 38–41. JSTOR 41552408.
- Cinephilia/Telephilia By Casetti, Francesco; Fanchi, Mariagrazia-Framework, Vol. 45, Issue 2, Fall 2004-Online Research Library
- The television anti-hero
- "Post-network audiences and cable crime drama (PDF Download Available)". ResearchGate.
- Front, Celluloid Liberation. "Telephilia: Has Television Become a More Relevant American Medium Than Art Film?". IndieWire.
- Roll Over Adorno: Critical Theory, Popular Culture, Audiovisual Media-Robert Miklitsch-Google Books
- Miklitsch, Robert (2006). Roll Over Adorno: Critical Theory, Popular Culture, Audiovisual Media. New York: State University of New York Press. p. 135. ISBN 0791467333.
- Redmond, Sean (2013). The Cinema of Takeshi Kitano: Flowering Blood. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 74. ISBN 9780231163323.
- Wroot, Jonathan; Willis, Andy (2017). Cult Media: Re-packaged, Re-released and Restored. Cham, Switzerland: Pagrave Macmillan. p. 40. ISBN 9783319636788.