Citizen Kane just got smaller


By Ryan Lattanzio

It should come as no surprise that Netflix has just previewed its new iPhone app. That's right. Now you can stream unlimited movies for a small monthly fee on your cell phone. Writer Ramu Nagappan of Macworld says it will offer "the full Netflix experience: you can stream video (over Wi-Fi and 3G), view recommendations, browse genres, and access your queue."

Though cellular-ized cinema is nothing less than a bastardization of the art form (empirically if you ask me -- it's almost oxymoronic), who can blame Netflix for not wanting to resist the demands of the digital age?

If seeing a movie once meant sitting in a dark room with a bunch of strangers, now it means sitting on the subway or waiting in an airport terminal. Just imagine trying to watch Citizen Kane on your cell phone. How do you cover the eyes of a kid who might look over your shoulder as you watch a Lars von Trier in a waiting room where the MPAA doesn't exist?

And now, if you can watch widescreen epics on your little phone, it's only a matter of time before you can make your own. There's already a new wave of cell phone cinema out there dating back a few years, like New Love Meetings, a 93-minute update of a Pasolini documentary shot in the MPEG4 format. It's a shitty-looking movie, but it's out there.

Because I can't say it any better myself, I leave you with David Lynch's polemic against the iPhone-as-movie theater. The man's a prophet.


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