Are the stories, the short videos that are gaining millions of views, a new form of cinema? Or is it not cinema at all? Can we say that cinema is a thing of the past? Will cinema soon take the place of a subculture somewhere alongside anime? What place do short films have in this big bang?

How does globalized financial capitalism come into the picture? Let’s break it down in order.

Is cinema dead again?

Scorsese said, the cinema consisted of a revelation. An aesthetic, emotional and spiritual revelation. It revolved around the characters: the complexity of people and their contradictory and sometimes paradoxical natures, their ability to hurt and love each other and, suddenly, face themselves. It consisted of confronting the unexpected on the screen and in the life that dramatized and interpreted, and expanded the sensation of what was possible in that artistic form. That was the key: it was an artistic form. And now we find a film industry with an indifference to the artistic aspect, with a dismissive and possessive attitude – a lethal combination – about the history of cinema. [1]

The history of cinema goes hand-in-hand with technical evolution. It was once thought that the advent of sound would kill cinema. That was its “first death”. The second death came with television. Cinema suffered its third and fourth death with the rise of video and digital. And now we are witnessing the fifth transformation in the time of the Internet, social media, streaming platforms, YouTube and TickTock. Big narratives, animation, series, video art, immersive and digital cinema have resulted from the adaptation of technical inventions.

digital cinema

For instance, more people than ever are viewing most of their leisure content on their mobile phones and not classically horizontal platforms like movie theaters, televisions, or computers. The average American spends almost 3 hours on their phone everyday, the same amount of time that they are expected to spend watching television, and in a year the average American will have spent 44 days worth of time on their phones.

According to surveys, it has been shown that 72 percent of Millennials don’t rotate their phones 90 degrees. They compromise having a smaller image and wasted screen space for the more comfortable vertical display. Researchers think this is because of the burden people feel when using the two hands that are required for comfortably holding a phone horizontally.

Big Bang and Short Films

We can observe that popular digital videos for social media contain the cinematic dramaturgical techniques of the last hundred years. For example, TikTok videos have been compared to silent movies. Tricky ending, captions, and tapering music can lead to audience success.

The algorithms of digital platforms drive the choice of cinematic idioms. For example, the parameter of audience retention in the first seconds affects the further growth in the number of views of the film. In turn, the presence of trends, concern for the constant increase in views, subscribers is a trait of accumulation. Commodification generates trends and makes you look for effective ways to engage a mass viewer. 

The good news. Media evolution doesn’t discard old forms. It’s integrating them. Short films are present in TikTok. A powerful boost and growth in the popularity of short narrative forms can be detected. The Cannes Film Festival and TikTok collaboration illustrates the uprising influence and integration of film and new media [2]. 

After all that has been said.

Would you say that the digital universe is very hospitable, with room for film, video art, short films, and a multitude of historical forms and genres?

Do you agree with the statement that if cinema is the dream of our world, then present-day digital cinema is the delirium of globalized financial capitalism, with its inexorable processes of accumulation, the fragmentation of former forms of subjectivity, the multiplication of perceptual and sensory control technologies at the most intimate level?