David Bordwell's website on cinema   click for CV




Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder

On the History of Film Style pdf online

Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

Film Art: An Introduction

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages pdf online

Pandora’s Digital Box: Films, Files, and the Future of Movies pdf online

Planet Hong Kong, second edition pdf online

The Way Hollywood Tells It pdf online

Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Figures Traced In Light

Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907–1934 pdf online


Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture!

CinemaScope: The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses

How Motion Pictures Became the Movies

Constructive editing in Pickpocket: A video essay


Rex Stout: Logomachizing

Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics

A Celestial Cinémathèque? or, Film Archives and Me: A Semi-Personal History

Shklovsky and His “Monument to a Scientific Error”

Murder Culture: Adventures in 1940s Suspense

The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film

Common Sense + Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory?

Mad Detective: Doubling Down

The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

Nordisk and the Tableau Aesthetic

William Cameron Menzies: One Forceful, Impressive Idea

Another Shaw Production: Anamorphic Adventures in Hong Kong

Paolo Gioli’s Vertical Cinema

(Re)Discovering Charles Dekeukeleire

Doing Film History

The Hook: Scene Transitions in Classical Cinema

Anatomy of the Action Picture

Hearing Voices

Preface, Croatian edition, On the History of Film Style

Slavoj Žižek: Say Anything

Film and the Historical Return

Studying Cinema


Book Reports

Observations on film art

Virtually true, or maybe not

Sunday | February 4, 2007   open printable version open printable version


From DB, for once a brief blog:

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of The Blair Witch Project was the idea of promoting the film through a faux website that treated the lore around the Witch as genuine. Later, the promotion for Spielberg’s A.I. created an alternate reality game (ARG) by scattering clues to a murder among many websites. The murder wasn’t part of A.I.‘s plot, but it did take place in the film’s fictional world, and online participants pursued an elaborate para-narrative that connected obliquely to the movie. A key character in the ARG, researcher Jeanine Salla, was listed as an actor in the film’s final credits. Ms. Salla evidently died a grisly death herself, as the autopsy report above indicates. She led other lives in fanfiction and online comic strips.

Now, for The Great World of Sound, director Craig Zobel has created a website. Nothing new in that. But Zobel also provides a website for a fictional company in the film. Here’s Screen International’s take (19-25 January 2007, print ed., p. 36):

It’s the 21st century equivalent of the film within the film—the fictional website of the shark-like record company in the movie. It’s everything you’d expect from a shady music company—flashing primary colors, bad clip art, typos and scrolling fonts, all to the sound of a soul-killing MIDI song file.

It starts well (banner reading, “You’re ad here”) but I found it not as wild as the SI description implies. Still, the idea is good, the execution diverting. Visit it here.

In a parallel thrust from Bookland, Jacquelyn Mitchard’s forthcoming young adult novel Now You See Her is being promoted by a series of YouTube video diaries purportedly made by the heroine, Hope Shay. The first one is up, and already at least one viewer thinks it’s the McCoy. (1)

We can probably expect to see more extensions of fictional worlds to the webworld. Are Hannibal Lecter podcasts next? Or an online university for which reading Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a prerequisite? See Henry Jenkins’ fine Convergence Culture for more on the A. I. puzzle ARG (pp. 123-128) and reflections on cross-media storytelling in general.

(1) Full disclosure: Hope is played by Lauren Peterson, the daughter of old friends Sue Collins and Jim Peterson. They also live down the street from us. Jim, now an attorney, took a Ph. D. in film studies here at UW. He’s the author of Dreams of Chaos, Visions of Order, an outstanding study of American avant-garde film.

PS Monday morning: I don’t watch much TV; The Simpsons, Olbermann, Ebert & Roeper, and the movie channels are pretty much it. So I’m grateful to Olli Sulopuisto for telling me that Lost has created its own ARG, The Lost Experience and that there’s a website for the fictional Hanso corporation. Much, much more can be found on the fansite.

Comments are closed.

David Bordwell
top of page

have comments about the state of this website? go here