The condition of the seventh Art - Introduction
What's next for Cinema?
I've heard those thoughts while I was reading about Roberto Rossellini some weeks ago a text that demonstrated how Rossellini himself save Cinema itself with his Neorealist approach in the 1940's. His style, far from the classic Hollywood techniques and rules was closer to the documentary than the actual fiction film. For example, take the sequence in Stromboli with the tuna fisheries. Rossellini was one of the first filmmakers to put his camera in front of the actors and let them interpret their character with few indications and even to ask them to improvise.
He was the antipod of the Hollywood way of filmmaking but he manged to influence so many young directors, especially the young critics soon to be auteurs of films like À bout de souffle, Paris nous appartient, Les 400 coups, etc. The French New Wave. Not only influenced by Rossellini but by Hollywood auteurs like Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Fuller, Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, and many more talented but off the radar auteurs.
The New Golden Age
Soon, it was Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, etc. that made a revolution followed by American (but european influenced) directors that gave back to the Hollywood Cinema its glory. Guys like Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, William Friedkin, Brian De Palma, etc.
Since the 1970's, Cinema never had a creative blast like or a financial boost, we no longer write about a Golden age but we can begin to see the lone ending of the Theatrical Cinema like the cinephiles and purist knew it. "A film must be seen in theaters the way it was made to be seen".
Did you already forgot Avatar?
Well, late 2009 early 2010, a titan (Titanic reference) entered onto the screens. In 3D. While raising from the grave a lot of IMAX theaters Avatar created a craze cause everybody was shouting: you have to see the last James Cameron on the big screen with the plastic glasses and the Dolby Surround sound!
3D is a nice new perspective, but what does it really brings to the story? This new dimension, except creating new stunning visuals is it worth the extra money they ask you to pay at the entry? Was it really worth making a Step Up 3D? My answer to all these questions is nothing, no, and no.
It's funny because when Avatar was released, they announced the coming of 3D televisions. Coincidence? I don't think so, it was planned, anybody a little alert knows that the theaters as we know them by now will disappear gradually and home entertainment is so perfectionned that people prefer to stay home, download the last film or television show and enjoy it alone. Television is the death of Cinema, channels like HBO are presenting better shows with good actors and excellent scripts than most Hollywood films. I don't think Television is bad, but it's another medium that proved to be more powerful and financially more secure for its investors. The creators have turn their heads where money is and they are working for television, they reach more people and they are even selling thousands of DVD boxsets those shows that where "free" to see on broadcast times but so good people want to watch and rewatch them!
My interrogation and fear here reminded me of a fear the late Walt Disney had; Does the Art of Cinema will soon be like classic Arts (painting, sculpting) only to Arthouse and Museums where only big names like Picasso, Monet, Renoir will drag crowds and that on ordinary days only some regulars will visit? Will Cinema only be the Art of the 20th Century? In next weeks and months I will discuss and essay many ideas about the condition of this art that I deeply cherish and I will try to get you the best estimate about this issue.