It seems like Cannes is not only a gathering to watch a lot of movies, but it has become a place where we debate and theorize what the future of film holds. Over the pandemic, everything changed. And even the most esteemed filmmakers are putting together what comes next. One of those filmmakers is Guillermo del Toro. He recently spoke at a Cannes symposium where he unpacked where cinema is going.
"There are many answers to what the future is. The one I know is not what we have right now. It is not sustainable. In so many ways, what we have belongs to an older structure," he said.
Del Toro talked about the 1920s transition from silent films to talkies and how drastic that was, then he goes on to say this might be even bigger. "That's how profound the change is. We are finding that it is more than the delivery system that is changing. It's the relationship to the audience that is shifting. Do we hold it, or do we seek and be adventurous?"
These words describe where we are as an industry right now. No one seems to be able to make the first move, or maybe no one is adventurous enough to buck the current system and embrace a wide array of movies with a theatrical release, and maybe some original storytelling as well.
Del Toro said, “We are in the present losing more movies from the past faster than ever before. It seems like we aren’t, but the mere disappearance of physical media is already having corporations curating what we watch, faster for us. The future doesn’t belong to us, so our duty is not to ourselves, but to the future, for the people who come after.”
These lost movies are becoming more and more common. If you can't find it on streaming and distributors stop making physical media, how will we ever know what happened to some of these titles? We wrote about the long list of movies that you just cannot find anymore.
That thought for a filmmaker has to be terrifying. We hope our work outlives us, but the reality is it will likely disappear under this kind of industry oversight.
Del Toro continued, "It took one pandemic to shake it all up. We survived the pandemic because we had three things: food, medicine, and stories. The three things sustained us for so many months and years. We understand we are in the craft of doing a thing that is of primary importance to do."
Hopefully, things change, but for now, we'll have to wait and see if the bubble bursts.
Tell us your thoughts in the comments.