Martin Scorsese questioned the future of cinema after the explosion of the business model promoted by streaming platforms, dedicated to the mass production of content and the personalization of its offer for each user. In an essay published in Harper's magazine, dedicated to paying tribute to Federico Fellini, the director of “Taxi Driver” regretted that with the services to consume movies and series on the Internet, the artistic character of certain works is distorted, eclipsed by an aggressive model of
Scorsese has lashed out at platforms that he believes will destroy movies. The Oscar winner criticized the use of algorithms of the different streaming services to recommend films to their users and considered that the word “content” demerits cinema as an artistic form and asks to stop seeing the public as consumers.
“El arte Cinema is being systematically devalued, marginalized, degraded and reduced to its lowest common denominator, 'content ,' wrote Scorsese.
'Just 15 years ago, the term' content 'was only heard when people talked about cinema in a serious level, and was contrasted and measured in terms of 'form'. Then, gradually, it was used more and more by the people who took over the media companies, most of whom knew nothing about art history ", expressed the director in his writing entitled 'Il Maestro', centered on the figure of Federico Fellini, where he talks about the current reality of the film industry.
For the prestigious 78-year-old New York director, now the word “content” has become a “commercial term” to refer to equal to “all motion pictures” whether it is “a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, or a series episode. ”
Scorsese admitted that it has benefited from platforms. such as Netflix, where it premiered "The Irishman", and Apple TV +, which is financing "Killers of the Flower Moon", but doubts its operation based on computer algorithms that equal all creations as "content" and recommend according to the stored data of each user.
"It has created a situation in which everything is presented to the viewer on equal terms, which sounds democratic but is not," opined the filmmaker.
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" If the algorithms 'suggest' additional viewing based on what you've already seen, and the suggestions are based only on theme or genre, what does that have to do with the art of cinema? " the director questioned. " Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing more, " and added: " We cannot depend on the audiovisual business, as it is, to take care of the cinema."
“In the film business, which is now the business of audiovisual mass entertainment, the emphasis is always on the word 'business', and the value is always determined by the amount of money that can be obtained from some property; therefore, everything from 'Amanecer' to 'La Strada', passing through '2001 ′, is already squeezed and ready to get into the' Art Film 'drawer of a streaming platform ”, he continued.
“ Who knows the cinema and its history we have to share our love and our knowledge with as many people as possible. And we have to make it very clear to the current legal owners of these films that they represent much, much more than mere property to be exploited and then locked up. They are among the greatest treasures of our culture and must be treated accordingly, "he said.
" I suppose we also need to refine our notions of what cinema is and what it is not. Federico Fellini is a good starting point. Many things can be said about Fellini's films, but there is one thing that is indisputable: it is cinema ”, he concluded.
It is not the first time that Scorserse has emphasized this issue. In 2019, a heated debate aroused after considering that Marvel films were closer to being " a theme park " than to being cinema, understood as artistic expression. " It is not the cinema of human beings trying to transmit emotions to another human being," he told Empire magazine, when he explained his reason for not seeing Marvel movies.
During his time at the Rome film festival, he also criticized the movie theaters for showing films of this type. "They can have those movies and that's fine, but that shouldn't be what our young people end up thinking of as cinema.
Francis Ford Coppola also joined in criticism of superhero films during his time at the Lumière Festival in Lyon. The filmmaker agreed with his colleague: “ When Scorsese says it's not cinema, he's right. One hopes to learn something from the cinema. We hope to get something, to enlighten us, to bring us knowledge, to inspire us, and I don't think you will get that with Marvel, because he makes movies without risk, " said the director, adding," Actually, Marty was kind. He did not say they were despicable, as I am saying. "
(With information from EFE)