Film Comment Site Specifics: Dave Kehr’s online destination for cinephiles

The best blogs thrive as online meeting-places for discerning enthusiasts—a modest-sounding accomplishment that actually means a great deal. Launched in 2005, Dave Kehr’s website is a sideline to his gig reviewing DVDs at The New York Times. Yet as its tagline, “Reports from the Lost Continent of Cinephilia,” suggests, it also serves as a venue for Kehr to bring his critical intelligence and knowledge to bear on much more than the home-video landscape.

Calling himself an “increasingly alienated observer” of contemporary film culture, Kehr embraces his Times post, which directs his viewing “away from the frontlines” of reviewing new releases. The blog’s backbone is formed by entries linking to his weekly column, but the real action occurs in the comments section, where discussions are sparked by Kehr’s remarks on everything from the state of film criticism to, for example, the careers of Richard Widmark and Sydney Pollack. “I just keep the door open and see who wanders in . . . I toss out the odd conversation ball,” says Kehr.

His reflections on the site tend to circle back to the changing experience of filmgoing today. The culture of cinephilia “used to be about, for instance, hanging out in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art and starting a discussion or argument.” But now, Kehr adds, these encounters largely take place “home alone”—usually spurred by a DVD, TCM, or something online. This site, which began as a lark, has become a prime Web destination.

-Paul Fileri, from the July/August 2008 issue of Film Comment

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