Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese made an attempt on Tuesday to use streaming services to reduce cinema to "content," and the algorithms are ruining the discovery.
"The art of cinema is systematically devalued, incapacitated, belittled and reduced to the lowest common denominator, the content."
In a cover essay for Harper & # 39; s, Scorsese discussed his love of cinema as an art form and described how Federico Fellini's films inspired him, but also criticized the current cinematic business model that has spawned classic film subscription services that are not sufficiently curated and discourage viewers from exploring films outside of their own bubble.
"We cannot rely on the film business as it is to take care of the cinema," he wrote.
While he noted that streaming services have benefited some filmmakers, including himself, “this has created a situation where the viewer is presented at eye level with anything that sounds democratic but is not democratic. If further viewing is suggested by algorithms based on what you've already seen and the suggestions are based only on subject or genre, what does that mean for the art of cinema?
"Curating is not undemocratic or" elitist, "a term that is so often used today that it becomes meaningless. It is an act of generosity – you share what you love and what inspired you. (The best streaming platforms like Criterion Channel and MUBI as well as traditional outlets like TCM are based on curation – they are actually curated.) Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else. "
Scorsese has also punished studios for not even bothering to distribute older films – a point that Walt Disney Co.
was criticized after many classic Fox films were vaulted.
“We need to make it clear to the current legal owners of these films that there is much, much more than just property that needs to be exploited and then locked away. They are among the greatest treasures of our culture and must be treated accordingly, ”he wrote.
Scorsese, who is also a leading film scholar, has lamented the death of film as art several times in recent years and pulled flak in 2019 for saying Marvel's superhero blockbusters wouldn't count as real cinema. He has also praised the potential of streaming services to revolutionize cinema. His latest film, The Irishman, was streamed exclusively on Netflix
and his next film "Killers of the Flower Moon", starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, will air on Apple