Martin Scorsese does not shy away from his opinions about the current state of Hollywood. From the roller coaster ride that superhero movies provide audiences to young filmmakers not being given space to expresses their unique voices on screen, Scorsese has fears for the future of cinema.
While Scorsese is preparing for his next major adult blockbuster Killers of the Flower Moon to hit theaters at the end of October, the American filmmaker still sees the endless franchises and the desire for them as a "danger" to "our culture."
In a recent interview with GQ, Scorsese discussed comic book and franchise culture, saying that their omnipresence could be negative to audiences who are not well-versed in other types of film.
"The danger there is what it's doing to our culture," Scorsese said. "Because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those--that's what movies are."
When interviewer Zach Baron revealed to Scorsese that people might already believe that, Scorsese agreed, saying, "They already think that. Which means that we have to then fight back stronger. And it's got to come from the grassroots level. It's gotta come from the filmmakers themselves. And you'll have, you know, the Safdi brothers, and you'll have Chris Nolan, you know what I mean? And hit ’em from all sides. Hit ’em from all sides, and don’t give up. Let’s see what you got. Go out there and do it. Go reinvent. Don’t complain about it. But it’s true, because we’ve got to save cinema.”
Scorsese in the Era of Streaming
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of 'Killers of the Flower Moon'
Scorsese also touched on the era of streaming and the definition of content over art.
“I do think that the manufactured content isn’t really cinema,” he said, adding, “It’s almost like AI making a film. And that doesn’t mean that you don’t have incredible directors and special effects people doing beautiful artwork. But what does it mean? What do these films, what will it give you? Aside from a kind of consummation of something and then eliminating it from your mind, your whole body, you know? So what is it giving you?”
Certain streamers come to mind when we think about factory filmmaking and the constant creation of films and TV that may get removed from the streamer's library. With streamers keeping their numbers so close to their chest, the public does not really know how well these manufactured projects really do or why studios keep making them if filmmakers do not get to express themselves on the screen.
Instead, it seems that streamers are training filmmakers to make something similar, something that doesn't challenges audiences, but, instead, asks them to not think or interact with the art that is challenging them. Instead, it is creating something that is entertaining and easily accessible on any screen.
Scorsese will fight for cinema as an art form until his dying day, and that is something we must admire and try to do as we emerge as filmmakers.
While I do not believe that there is anything wrong with a filmmaker taking on a larger project from a franchise, I do believe there is something lost when filmmakers leave a piece of themselves behind while chasing the current Hollywood dream, the dream that is slowly evolving into something else, something unknown. Rather than chasing something that a studio tells you they want, your goal should always focus back to what you want to create and the stories you want to tell.
Never forget why you wanted to become a filmmaker, and never stop fighting for your dreams.
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