In 2019, legendary director Martin Scorsese said that Marvel films are “not cinema,” setting off a firestorm among the big screen faithful. The director has certainly stirred up a fuss over an issue that has been going on for years: is Scorsese particularly irascible, or a lone voice willing to stand up and say what everyone thinks?
The famous director returned to talk about the state of cinema in recent years
“Studios are no longer interested in supporting individual voices expressing their personal feelings or their personal thoughts with a big budget.” The danger is what it is doing to our culture. Because now there will be generations who think that movies are just that.
They already think so. Which means we have to react more strongly. And it must start from the base. It has to come from the directors themselves. For example there are the Safdie brothers and Christopher Nolan, you know what I mean? We must convince the new generations by attacking from all sides and not give up. Reinvent. Because we have to save cinema… and I think that industrial content is not really cinema.”
“Content” is a vague word that, when applied to entertainment, has come to embody the way that major studios have come to view movies, television shows, YouTube videos, even books, not as individual pieces of content. It’s art that should stand on its own, but as part of a continuum that exists to keep people busy and make them pay, rather than to edify or enrich them.
The director continued, “It’s fabricated content. It’s almost as if the AI made a movie. And that doesn’t mean there aren’t incredible directors and special effects experts making beautiful works of art. But what does it mean? What do these films give us? Other than sort of consuming something and then purging it from your mind, from your body, you know? So what does it give you?”.
Martin Scorsese is certainly not the only one who feels shocked by the word “content”. When media outlets reported the impending end of the Hollywood screenwriters’ strike, some outlets such as Variety described the entertainment industry as “the content industry,” and some did not take this phrase well.
What do you think about it?
Is it right to think that cinema is becoming a big cauldron of “content” that is seen and forgotten by the public? Or is Martin Scorsese’s fear simply unfounded?