Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Nolan talks bleak future of cinema

Christopher Nolan has written about the future of the film industry in The Wall Street Journal

Christopher Nolan has described the short-term future of cinema as "bleak" in an industry focused on producing "content" that can be streamed to any screen, anywhere.

But, writing in The Wall Street Journal, the Inception director is adamant this current state of affairs "will not last" and filmmakers will be forced to create "spectacles" that cannot be reproduced in home entertainment format.

The Oscar-nominated British director also predicted the return of film prints as a format technology cannot replicate and audiences returning to cinemas to enjoy a shared viewing experience.

Nolan wrote: "As streams of data, movies would be thrown in with other endeavours under the reductive term 'content', jargon that pretends to elevate the creative, but actually trivialises differences of form that have been important to creators and audiences alike.

"'Content' can be ported across phones, watches, gas-station pumps or any other screen, and the idea would be that movie theatres should acknowledge their place as just another of these 'platforms', albeit with bigger screens and cupholders."

He added: "This bleak future is the direction the industry is pointed in, but even if it arrives it will not last. Once movies can no longer be defined by technology, you unmask powerful fundamentals - the timelessness, the otherworldliness, the shared experience of these narratives.

"We moan about intrusive moviegoers, but most of us feel a pang of disappointment when we find ourselves in an empty theatre."

Nolan also hails Quentin Tarantino as a pioneer of cinema in the 90s, and welcomes new young blood to the industry.

He wrote: "These new voices will emerge just as we despair that there is nothing left to be discovered. As in the early '90s, when years of bad multiplexing had soured the public on movies, and a young director named Quentin Tarantino ripped through theatres with a profound sense of cinema's past and an instinct for reclaiming cinema's rightful place at the head of popular culture."

And he predicted: "The theatres of the future will be bigger and more beautiful than ever before. They will employ expensive presentation formats that cannot be accessed or reproduced in the home (such as, ironically, film prints). And they will still enjoy exclusivity, as studios relearn the tremendous economic value of the staggered release of their products...

"Never before has a system so willingly embraced the radical tear-down of its own formal standards. But no standards means no rules. Whether photochemical or video-based, a film can now look or sound like anything.

"It's unthinkable that extraordinary new work won't emerge from such an open structure. That's the part I can't wait for."

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