Saturday, January 19, 2019

Guy Maddin on Film's Slowness to Freedom

"It's funny how film is the slowest art form to adapt to freedom. It's had freedom all along. It could've done whatever it wanted to. You know the same freedom that do-it-yourself punk and post-punk musicians had in the late 70s and ever since. That's about the time I started getting interested in film, and I assumed that film would be moving along with the other pop culture forms. Its finally done it but it's taken decades for it to catch up just to basement band level."

Portable, high-quality, and cheap, imaging technology has allowed film to catch up to the other pop culture art forms, certainly in a mass accessibility, but he is right. What I find is one can do anything he or she wants but too often the same now-dreary thing is what we get.


Jon said...

Having just read this NYT story, it's not a shock to hear Maddin's take. Upper management at major studios seems quite the snake pit, and the goal seems more one of surviving and getting rich than pursuing anything innovative. Whatever fraction of the market is controlled by these major studios (90%?) is not going anywhere fast.

Perhaps related to that, a randomly found list of 20 innovative filmmakers has only 5 or 6 Americans in it.

Simon St. Laurent said...

Thanks for the notes!

Part of the reason for film's lack of change is due to the fact that it utilizes the industrial model: expenses are great, or at least they can be.

Again, technology has allowed for major cost savings in many production areas, and has effectively moved the partitions within budgets, but with studios it's about "going big". Tent-pole pictures are what they think about, not "nice little stories". They go for the big push; the quick money, hopefully in large quantities. Shelf life and catalogue don't mean a heck of a lot to them outside of a film's immediate post-theatrical home video release. In all fairness to studios and their executives today, Hollywood has always been that way....hence the general lack of film preservation. Yes: "What's next?...."