8 April 2013 3:48 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Short films no longer rule the cinematic roost as they once did. A feature-length assembly of 2013 Bafta nominees suggests why

No law dictates that a film must last 90-plus minutes. The feature emerged to meet a commercial need: purpose-built picture palaces had to provide a full night's entertainment. Before they arrived, cinema consisted solely of short films. Giants like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy managed to deliver masterworks on one or two reels.

Now, the ascendency of the picturehouse is over: cinema admissions stand at little more than a 10th of their 1940s level. Instead, individuals forage for audiovisual fare from a galaxy of outlets on a plethora of devices. They're time poor, and itching for something brief to watch on their tablet while cooking, queuing or commuting.

At the same time, entry barriers to film-making have collapsed. Anyone can shoot full-spec HD video on a phone, »

- David Cox

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