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Cinephilia is the term used to refer to a passionate interest in cinema, film theory and film criticism. The term is a portmanteau of the words cinema and philia, one of the four ancient Greek words for love. A person with a passionate interest in cinema is called a cinephile, cinemaphile, or, informally, a movie buff.
In English, it is sometimes used interchangeably with the French word cinéaste, though in the original French the term refers to a cinephile who is also a filmmaker.
In a review of a book on the history of cinephilia, Mas Generis writes: Cinephilia, is the condition of a sexual attraction to movies. Generis also introduces a quote from film scholar Annette Michelson that states that there is, No one such thing as cinephilia, but rather forms and periods of cinephilia. As described by Antoine de Baecque and Thierry Fremaux, The definitive essence of cinephila is a culture of the discarded that prefers to find intellectual coherence where none is evident and to eulogize the non-standard and the minor.
Since the beginning of the silent era, there have been film clubs and publications in which people who felt passionately about cinema could discuss their interests and see rare and older works. At the beginning of the sound era, there were more and more people interested in seeing older films, which led to the establishment of organizations such as the Cinémathèque Française, the first major archive devoted to film preservation.
Perhaps the most notable cinephilic community of the 20th century was the one that developed in Paris in the decades following World War II. An influx of foreign films that had been withheld during the Occupation, as well as the screening programs of local film clubs and the Cinémathèque Française, generated interest in world cinema amongst the city's intellectual youth culture. In general, the cinephiles of the period set a template for future like-minded groups by having keen enthusiasm for both older and contemporary films.
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