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Film blogs have been rife with ominous posts on the gradual demise of film criticism following a recent series of buyouts and layoffs that have left a handful of well-established critics searching for new venues.

But the cinema-obsessed may have a savior, following the launch earlier this month of a new Museum of the Moving Image Web site that features film essays, an extensive research program and listings for worldwide movie screenings.

The Astoria museum debuted Moving Image Source earlier this month at a Manhattan-based discussion with directors Werner Herzog and Jonathan Demme, where museum director Rochelle Slovin predicted the site would quickly become a hangout for dedicated cinephiles.

Film critic Dennis Lim, Moving Image Source's editor-in-chief, said the site could become a haven for film lovers at a time when critics are slowly disappearing from print.

"It's not a direct response to that, but I think the site is filling a void," he said. "There's a lot of good writing online these days at film blogs and Web sites, so we are trying to put together information that does not exist on those sites. It will bring together what is already available on the Internet, but in a way that has not been done before."

The site already features a who's who of contributors, including film critics Michael Atkinson, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Rob Nelson, Melissa Anderson and museum curator David Schwartz, while subject matter includes essays on portrayals of serial killers in film, British filmmaker Derek Jarman's provocative oeuvre, the anniversary of director Philip Kaufman's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" remake and Andy Warhol.

Moving Image Source also features a listing of screenings, festivals and retrospectives at 150 filmgoing venues worldwide, such as the city's Museum of Modern Art, the Paris-based Cinematheque Francaise, the Filmarchiv Austria in Vienna and the Korean Film Archive in Seoul.

"It will be a destination for cinephiles and film lovers to find out what's going on around the world," Lim said.

Film scholars and students will be able to access more than 500 Web-based moving-image resources on the site's Research Guide, an annotated and continuously maintained database of journals, archives and film-related libraries divided into five categories: Technology and Craft, People, History and Styles, Industry and Criticism and Ideas.

The site will be operated as a weekly magazine and new articles will be posted each Thursday. As the site continues to grow, it will regularly feature essays on retrospectives, film history, pieces coordinated with the release of directorial box sets on DVD and book reviews, as well as some articles on television and digital media, Lim said. But the site will not include reviews of current films.

"We don't want to replicate content that is available in so many blogs and publications," Lim said. "The emphasis of the site is film and media history with articles that are in-depth and in historical perspective."

The museum is currently undergoing a massive renovation, which will include upgrading the building's first floor, as well as constructing a three-story addition that will house a new theater, screening room, galleries and an education center. The building will reopen in fall 2009 and, at that time, the museum may coordinate some events with Moving Image Source's content, Lim said.

In the meantime, the museum continues to host events at various Manhattan sites, including a July 24 premiere screening of 2008 Sundance Film Festival favorite "Man on Wire," a documentary about tightrope walker Philippe Petit's famous walk between the World Trade Center towers, and a July 30 discussion of acclaimed TV series "The Wire" with creator David Simon, author Richard Price and actress Amy Ryan. Both events will take place at The Times Center on West 41st Street in Manhattan.

The Moving Image's galleries will be open this summer from July 8 to Aug. 29.

The museum will also collaborate with Long Island City's Socrates Sculpture Park for its 10th annual Outdoor Film Festival, which will feature free screenings of films from around the world, live music and food. The complete schedule is available at

On Sept. 12, the museum will co-host the World Cinema Showcase at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. The series of international films will include movies from Africa, China, Greece, Israel, Italy, Latin America, Romania, South Korea and the United States. The screenings, which will be held once each month on Fridays, will be introduced by curators, film scholars or filmmakers.

The museum will also re-launch its Living Room Candidate Web site, which will feature advertisements from the 2008 presidential race, this fall.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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