Can digital downloads save foreign cinema?

by Anthony Kaufman
February 16, 2007 1:36 AM
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It's a loaded question, because who would even want digital distribution to be the main outlet for international and independent film? (We want our movies in theaters, damn it). But the reality is that the vast majority of movies don't get released in the U.S., so what other options do they realistically have? In this article in indieWIRE today, I look into new player Jaman as well as the video-on-demand operations of Netflix and GreenCine.

This weekend, on the contrary, happens to be a particularly fruitful one if your tastes lean towards world cinema. From Abderrahmane Sissako's anti-globalization critics' darling "Babako" to Bosnian Berlinale 2006 stunner "Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams" to the Israeli girls-in-the-military melodrama "Close to Home" to middlebrow French comedy "Avenue Montaigne," it's a rich period for the theatrical releases of foreign-language film. But that's in New York, of course. Most art-movie fans around the country have to settle for their Netflix.

Or, perhaps, for their Jaman or GreenCine digital downloads. It's still early yet for the model. And has been noted elsewhere, there is still a lot of resistance to downloading and watching movies in this way. But then again, whether we like it or not, it's the future, so a company like Jaman -- if it can last in the meantime -- appears to be getting a head start.

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