Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cinema in Your Pocket

The New York Times > Books > A Library and Cinema in Your Pocket

This is an interesting little article in the New York Times on the new frontier of cinematic videos made especially for mobile phone technology. As a first step in development, businesses in Europe and Asia are making a form of roman photo, using photos of actors and text to tell a story. Episodes of the story are then sent to subscribers’ cell phones. Most stories being made are “soap operas”, and are devised as a marketing tool aimed at women.

Roman photo dates back to post-World War II Europe, and were very popular in their day. The roman photo phenomenon was celebrated in the film LO SCEICCO BIANCO or THE WHITE SHEIK (1952), a delightful, early comedy by master filmmaker Federico Fellini. In this film, an uptight clerk named Ivan brings his virginal wife Wanda to Rome for an audience with the Pope and to meet his extended family. While Ivan rests from the trip, a star-stuck Wanda sneaks away to a nearby production set to meet “The White Sheik”, the handsome hero of her favorite roman photo and star of her romantic fantasies. Comic mayhem ensues….