Martin Scorsese urges filmmakers to ‘save cinema’ from franchises

Martin Scorsese
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Martin Scorsese has been having some more words on the state of modern cinema. And, well, Martin Scorsese isn’t feeling too positive.

“Well, the industry is over,” according to Martin Scorsese, who has once again questioned the state of cinema, this time ahead of the release of his latest project, Killers Of The Flower Moon. The legendary filmmaker famously made lots of waves around four years ago when he claimed that superhero films were not cinema. Now, in a profile piece for GQ, Scorsese has widened his critique beyond a single genre, instead aiming a broadside at blockbuster franchise movies in general.

“The danger there is what it’s doing to our culture, because there are going to be generations now that think movies are only those – that’s what movies are,” the director said when asked his take on the current state of blockbuster dominance. Scorsese then went on to give an example of how studio executives tried to get him to alter his planned ending to The Departed so it could become a franchise. He doesn’t recall the moment fondly.

In suggesting that large parts of the audience have been trained to watch only these films, Scorsese argues that the only way to reverse course is via the filmmakers.

“We have to then fight back stronger,” he argues, “and it’s got to come from the grassroots level. It’s gotta come from the filmmakers themselves. And you’ll have, you know, the Safdie brothers, and you’ll have Chris Nolan, you know what I mean? And hit ’em from all sides. Hit ’em from all sides, and don’t give up. Let’s see what you got. Go out there and do it. Go reinvent. Don’t complain about it. But it’s true, because we’ve got to save cinema.”

Four years ago, the Taxi Driver director likened superhero films to theme park rides, famously stating that they lacked a sense of emotional danger. This time, Scorsese uses a more topical allegory, but one even more damning. “It’s almost like AI making a film … and that doesn’t mean that you don’t have incredible directors and special effects people doing beautiful artwork. But what does it mean? What do these films, what will it give you? Aside from a kind of consummation of something and then eliminating it from your mind, your whole body, you know? So what is it giving you”.

Scorsese’s comments are sure to ignite debate once more, although he hasn’t mentioned a specific genre this time around, so perhaps other filmmakers won’t feel as personally targeted. We’ll see. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on Scorsese’s comments below…

Read more: Martin Scorsese reckons he has ‘a couple more’ films in him

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