Cinema is devalued by content: Martin Scorsese on suggestions based on streaming algorithms

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In a new essay, legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese argued that the art of filmmaking is “systematically devalued” as movie studios and streaming companies rush to produce “content.”

In his tribute to the great Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, published in the March edition of Harper’s Magazine and titled Il Maestro, Scorsese admitted that streamers had helped his career because without Netflix there would be no Irish and without Apple. there would be no Flower Moon killers.

However, the filmmaker said the art of filmmaking is “systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned and reduced to its lowest common denominator: ‘content’.”

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“Just 15 years ago, the term ‘content’ was only heard when people were seriously discussing cinema, and it was contrasted and measured against ‘form’,” Scorsese wrote.

Netflix is ​​Irish Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman who found his home at Netflix in 2019 (Photo: Netflix)

“Then gradually it was used more and more by people who took over media companies, most of whom knew nothing about the history of the art form, or even cared enough to think that they should, ”he added.

The filmmaker added that the word “content” has become a commercial term for all moving images.

“This was linked, of course, not to the theatrical experience but to home viewing, on streaming platforms that came to overtake the cinematic experience, just as Amazon has overtaken physical stores,” he said. declared.

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apple tv flower moon killers Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film Killers of the Flower Moon stars his favorite main men – Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is an Apple original. (Photo: Martin Scorsese / Instagram)

The director, who is among America’s most influential filmmakers with classics such as Good Fellas, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Aviator and The Departed and many more to his credit, said the packaging of everything as that content looks democratic but is not. t ”.

“If a deeper view is ‘suggested’ by algorithms based on what you’ve already seen, and the suggestions are based purely on subject or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema?

“Conservation is neither undemocratic nor ‘elitist’, a term that is now used so often that it no longer makes sense. It’s an act of generosity – you share what you love and what inspired you… Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.

Scorsese said that moviegoers cannot depend on the film industry to take care of the cinema.

“In the film industry, which is now the mass visual entertainment industry, the emphasis is still on the word ‘business’, and value is still determined by the amount of money to be made from a given ownership – in that sense, everything from Sunrise to La Strada up to 2001 is now pretty much wrung out and ready for the ‘Art Film’ swim lane on a streaming platform, ”he said .

“Those of us who know cinema and its history should share our love and knowledge with as many people as possible. And we need to make the current legal owners of these films understand that they are more than just assets to be exploited and then locked up. They are among the greatest treasures of our culture and must be treated accordingly, ”he added.

The director, who is reuniting with his favorite actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Rober DeNiro for his upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon, said Fellini’s films were “cinema”.

“I guess we also need to refine our notions of what cinema is and what it isn’t. Federico Fellini is a good starting point. A lot can be said about Fellini’s films, but here’s one thing that is indisputable: they are cinema. Fellini’s work goes a long way towards defining the art form, ”said Scorsese.

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