“Shame” and “Hunger” filmmaker Steve McQueen is a proud supporter of the cinema experience, and he’s not afraid to share it. In fact, some comments he made about it whilst promoting his new film “Widows” at the Toronto Film Festival have drawn both fans and ire.
Speaking with Uproxx, McQueen says one of the big reasons he made his new heist thriller is so it could be seen in cinemas with a big crowd experiencing it together:
“It’s a communal experience. That’s what cinema is. And that’s why I made this film. Sometimes there’s a time to cheer and sometimes there’s a time to cry. And we have that both in this movie. That’s the good thing about cinema. [There’s] no point looking at a movie on your laptop on your own at home.
The thrill of cinema is to be in an audience with 200 people, 500 people or a thousand people and watching something. I remember when I saw ‘North by Northwest’ with my wife when we first dated. About 20 years ago. That movie, and the reaction…I mean, people applauding and all that. It just gives you a skip in your step as you exit the cinema.”
The quotes have been hit by a backlash even on some cinephile sites. Comments on Indiewire for example have lambasted him for saying film must be an ‘exclusively social’ experience, along with citing the usual problems with the modern theater-going experience, the difficulty of accessing non-blockbuster titles outside of inner urban areas of major cities, and the rise of high-quality home cinema equipment.
“Widows” is earning strong reviews from critics and is unsurprisingly releasing only in cinemas nationwide on November 16th.