Entertainment & Arts

Guillermo del Toro, Michel Hazanavicius, Paolo Sorrentino & More On Feeble State Of Cinema In Face Of Streaming – Cannes

Two-time Oscar winner and former Un Certain Regard Jury President Guillermo del Toro kicked off a filmmaker symposium at Cannes today, discussing the future of cinema, particularly as it’s been rattled by the pandemic.

The participants at today’s festival conference was a complete surprise, including del Toro, who was joined by Final Cut filmmaker and The Artist Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicius, Costa-Gravas, Claude Lelouch, Gasper Noe, and The Great Beauty Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino, and more.

Without specifically using hard industry terms like theatrical day-and-date or window crunching, del Toro spoke about all those themes surrounding the battle between streaming and cinema and which bucket movies go into.

Quipped Hazanavicius toward the latter part of the panel, “It’s comforting to talk about the death of cinema.”

“We shouldn’t enshrine the past and try to preserve, it’s not going to hold,” advised del Toro, “the future will present itself, whether we want it or not.”

“The level of dialogue and the old structure isn’t sustainable,” added the filmmaker whose Nightmare Alley wasn’t platformed over the year-end holidays last year like some of his previous movies, i.e. Oscar winner The Shape of Water; Covid having crimped the specialty business during Q4 2021.

“It took a pandemic to shake it all up,” said del Toro about how the media business changed, “we survived that pandemic: we had food, medicine and stories.”

“Three things that sustained us for months and years,” he continued.

Essentially, on the entire panel’s mind, the streaming boom has eroded the cultural significance of cinema.

The disappearance of physical media, per del Toro, has forced entertainment conglomerates to curate what we watch. He regaled that thanks to Netflix, he was able to make his version of Pinocchio which is set against the rise of Mussolini, a project some studios passed on. However, del Toro pointed out that “certain things; they’re getting done, but are they getting seen?” In other words, while streaming has kept filmmakers busy, is their work being seen?

“What if the next big movie comes from a streamer, and isn’t seen on the big screen?” del Toro exclaimed, indicating we shouldn’t discriminate where content comes from.

“My first duty is to tell the stories,” he exclaimed, “whether you’re using a family member’s money or a pension.”

At the same time, what he loves about theaters is that “Cinema tells you, you’re going to sit down and process this one story.”

Lelouch was bullish about the comeback of cinema. “I think they have the greatest future,” he remarked, “I know movie theaters will win.”

“I find it difficult to watch a film on my mobile phone,” Lelouch added.

Gasper Noé expressed his concern over piracy platforms, in which a user has access to over 50K titles. While not ideal, a young student in other parts of the world, who doesn’t have a streaming service can still become steeped in film; a option many didn’t have years ago.

Sorrentino, whose movie, The Hand of God, was a Netflix movie that earned an International Film Oscar nomination, agreed with del Toro: “The first duty is tell stories.”

Hazanavicius told the dais about the challenge of getting French moviegoers into theaters. “I’m at an age where I’m not worried, but if I was young, I’d be worried,” said The Artist director about the future of moviegoing for burgeoning filmmakers.

Smartly dinging streamers, Hazanavicius explained that when filmmakers become beholden to streamers, they’re at the mercy of algorithms.

Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux was in attendance today also moderating the discussion.

In the end, how do we augment the future for the motion picture business for the better?

Said del Toro, “If you can change one mind, you change a generation.”

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