Various filmmakers in recent years have spoken about the apparent death of cinema as the theatrical experience is being gradually replaced by the rise of streaming services.
David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Chris Nolan, Quentin Tarantino and Ridley Scott have all spoken about this shift in the culture and technology in past interviews, and now another director has voiced his take – one that is far more than just a quick sound bite from a junket interview.
“Videodrome,” “Dead Ringers,” “The Fly” and “A History of Violence” helmer David Cronenberg recently received an honorary degree from OCAD University during which he gave a speech and ruminated upon the future of cinema and unlike some of the others, he has every intention of adapting as opposed to being rendered obsolete. Here’s an excerpt via The Globe and Mail (via The Playlist):
“The painter Willem de Kooning said: ‘Flesh is the reason oil paint was invented.’ I say, the human body is the reason the cinema was invented. The face, the body, is its true subject, the most photographed object in cinema. Cinema is the body.
I’m here today because I’ve made some movies. However, because of the internet, Netflix, streaming, cinema is dissolving, the big screen is shattering into many little screens, and this is causing much stress amongst movie-nostalgia hardliners.
It does not matter to me. In fact, it pleases me. Because the human body is evolving, changing, and since the cinema is body, it makes sense that the cinema is changing, evolving as well. If movies disappeared overnight, I would not care. The cinema is not my life. Your art form cannot be your life. To say that it is, to make it be that, is to evade life itself. However, you will not do that, will you? No, I’m sure you won’t.”
The comments come as it has also been announced (via Deadline) that the American film industry generated $43.4 billion in revenue last year – continuing a five-year streak of just 2.2% growth. That rate is expected to slow to just 2% for the next five years as movie attendance is expected to remain largely flat.