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Author Topic: Cinema is gone (according to Martin Scorcese)  (Read 259 times)
Darth Knox
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« on: January 02, 2017, 04:03:07 PM »

Martin Scorcese is one of the greatest living directors who has made some of the greatest movies in cinematic history. In a recent article he has some interesting thoughts on younger people and the current state of cinema. Do you guys agree or disagree with his comments? (and why)

The Luminous Shadow
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« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2017, 04:22:54 PM »

I feel like one could use this very argument for ANY art form.  Music, art, dance, theater, you name it.  I think this type of thing is so incredibly personal to the maker or artist, so subjective that it's difficult to say that I agree or disagree with his commentary in regards to cinema.  But I will liken it to this on a personal level:

When I listen to modern film scores, I am often HUGELY disappointed.  The composition is meandering, cliche, and out-right boring to me.  However, when I watch older movies from the 60's and 70's, the music seems "alive."  It seems to tell the story on its own, rather than simply supporting a series of images on a screen.  These days, there are very few memorable themes or scores.  But in the defense of that, like everything else, music has adapted to fit a different type of artistic medium when it comes to cinema.  I may not like it, but I've come to at least appreciate some of it.

I imagine those who are really into the cinematic art form may feel the same in some respects?  I don't think I'm passionate about cinema in the way most film buffs are, but like I said, I imagine it translates to many areas of art.

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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2017, 04:30:42 PM »

“Cinema is gone,” Scorsese says. “The cinema I grew up with and that I’m making, it’s gone.”

Is what he saying really that shocking though? Times change, technology moves forward. I can't imagine that this hasn't been said in one form or another ever since the genesis of "talkies."

From a societal standpoint, it would seems as though the communal cinema experience is no longer about the audience as a whole, but rather about the individual, and how the individual feels about the movie. Instead of going to have a "movie going experience", they're going to solely so they can say they have an opinion about it.

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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2017, 04:34:10 PM »

Cinema just like every aspect of culture changes over time - it's dynamic.
To say it's gone seems silly to me - changed, for sure.

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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2017, 04:54:20 PM »

Music from the black and white film days sucked most of the time. It often doesn't fit the scene or the feeling it should be creating. I see this even in Hitchcock's early work. Rod Serling felt films shouldn't use so much music. He said people depended on it too heavily. People love the music from The Twilight Zone even as it was forced on Serling as he didn't want it. Scorcese is letting his own bias of what he's used to dominate what he expects. I agree that most films today are not powerful. But most weren't then either. I agree that young people in general don't get it. Young people didn't get it in any generation when they were young. I suspect the community of film makers he is exposed to is different than the ones with which he used to work. I suspect there are so many entertainment films about making money that it saturates what he sees being made in a way that causes him to say these things. But, there are more big actors using their fame to do powerful artistic films today than there used to be. Batman, Captain America and Iron Man can do any film they want artistically without losing their fame and multimillion dollar films. This draws audiences who never would've gone to see nor rented some of the things Christian Bale has done. Those films can't get the budget to pay these actors, but these actors aren't demanding as much when the story is powerful to them and the role is desirable to them. The film makers will still gain the benefits of having a famous actor on board to give them more budget later and get a larger audience later. The ground work would have been different in Scorcese's day. The people involved were different. The things that brought attention were different.

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The Luminous Shadow
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2017, 09:06:16 PM »

Also, I'll just go ahead and say it.  I don't like half of what Scorcese does.  He's a bit like the Charles Dickens of film to me.  So like I said before, cinema "dying" is absolutely subjective.  If I never saw another film of his, I wouldn't feel a great sense of loss or anything.  Again, my opinion is subjective based on my personal tastes and biases.  Same with music, dance, or anything else.  There's a guy at work that ONLY listens to 12 tone style music and I hate that stuff with a burning passion, but that doesn't mean it isn't good or that music is "dying."  It's just changing. 

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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2017, 09:41:16 PM »

I think he's absolutely right, along with everyone who argues that cinema is changing.

When I go to the movies now I don't see people looking to have an experience. I see them giving snide remarks to their friends, intentionally laughing at inappropriate times to make themselves look superior to what they're watching, or playing on their phones. Like music, these things have become background noise to us, and the number of filmmakers relying on the same old techniques is insanely high. Just watch this video:

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SOOOOO many movies cover emotional beats the same way now, which lets them take all kinds of storytelling shortcuts because, rather than organically crafting a moment, they just have imitate other movies and rely on your emotional memory of them to get a reaction. While this does mean that we're a pretty cinematically literate society, it also means that we can easily be duped.

There's a point in the article where Scorsese discusses the 50's, which is a decade I've been thinking about for a while now because of how similar it is to the present. Theater attendance was insanely low back then because of the introduction of television, which kept people at home rather than going out. What innovation do we have today that's similar? Streaming. Netflix, Hulu and, for younger generations, YouTube are keeping people at home once again. They only come out for franchises, which are essentially serialized TV on a larger scale.

What saved cinema was the filmmakers of Scorsese's generation. Hollywood noticed they were failing to bring in audiences and appeal to the Boomer generation, so they recruited from film schools, where we got Scorsese, Lucas, Coppola, Cimino, De Palma, etc. As a result, we had new, young perspectives who appealed to younger audiences and brought in revolutionary ways to tell stories visually.

However, now we're like the 50's, with streaming keeping people at home. It's not entirely the same, but very similar. We just need to wait to see if any revolutionary filmmakers arrive (some I'm watching are Shane Carruth, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler) to revive cinema, or we'll just waitch it continue to fade into the background.

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