Martin Scorsese is one of the most prolific directors in Hollywood. Having given us masterpieces throughout his career, he’s a purveyor of cinema. And we know that Scorsese isn’t too big of a fan of movies today. We all remember his feelings on the Marvel Cinematic Universe and comic book films.
Scorsese is back with his criticism of the movie industry with an essay, in which he writes:
“As recently as 15 years ago, the term ‘content’ was heard only when people were discussing the cinema on a serious level, and it was contrasted with and measured against ‘form’. Then, gradually, it was used more and more by the people who took over media companies, most of whom knew nothing about the history of the art form, or even cared enough to think that they should. ‘Content’ became a business term for all moving images: a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, a series episode. It was linked, of course, not to the theatrical experience but to home viewing, on the streaming platforms that have come to overtake the moviegoing experience, just as Amazon overtook physical stores.”
Scorsese criticized algorithms and being suggested content based on what you’ve seen before. he asked what this was doing to art? He added:
“Curating isn’t undemocratic or ‘elitist,’ a term that is now used so often that it’s become meaningless. It’s an act of generosity — you’re sharing what you love and what has inspired you. (The best streaming platforms, such as the Criterion Channel and MUBI and traditional outlets such as TCM, are based on curating — they’re actually curated.) Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.”
“In the movie business, which is now the mass visual entertainment business, the emphasis is always on the word ‘business,’ and value is always determined by the amount of money to be made from any given property — in that sense, everything from ‘Sunrise’ to ‘La Strada’ to ‘2001’ is now pretty much wrung dry and ready for the ‘Art Film’ swim lane on a streaming platform. Those of us who know the cinema and its history have to share our love and our knowledge with as many people as possible. And we have to make it crystal clear to the current legal owners of these films that they amount to much, much more than mere property to be exploited and then locked away. They are among the greatest treasures of our culture, and they must be treated accordingly.”
Scorsese is no stranger to streaming services. Netflix was the home for his film, The Irishman. And Apple TV+ will feature his film Killers of the Flower Moon. Certainly, the way we view cinema has changed. Not only due to the pandemic, but just due to streaming services. But, change is always imminent. Certainly, the radio feared the movie theaters and the TV screens?
What do you think of Scorsese’s thoughts?
(Header Image: Martin Scorsese (Wikipedia/ Source: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/siebbi/7602465/ Author: Siebbi / Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0))
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