For Martin Scorsese, a film on Netflix or Amazon is not cinema

Disappointed with the path taken by the film industry, the director of Taxi Driver and The Freedmen regrets that the public is reduced to consumers and that we lose sight of art.

After Marvel, Martin Scorcese tackles Netflix, Amazon and others. In a tribune tribute to Fellini, published in the Harper’s Magazine , the director took the opportunity to take stock of the film industry and the growing role of streaming platforms. A change regretted by the filmmaker, scalded in particular by the use of the word “content»To designate the productions put online.

Fifteen years ago, the term “content” was only heard when people seriously discussed cinema, and it was contrasted and measured against “form”. Then gradually it was used more and more by the people who took over the media, most of whom knew nothing about the history of the art form or even cared enough about it to think that they should do it, he regrets. “Content” has become a commercial term for all moving images: a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero saga, a serial episode. It was of course related not to the movie experience but to home viewing, on streaming platforms that came to overtake the movie experience, just as Amazon overtook physical stores.

The position of the director may surprise: his latest film The irishman is for example directly released exclusively on Netflix. But Scorcese explains it. “On the one hand, it was good for the filmmakers, myself included. On the other hand, it has created a situation where everything is presented to the viewer on an equal footing, which looks democratic but is not.», Explains the man behind Taxi Driver. “If the following viewing is “suggested” by algorithms which examine what you have already seen; suggestions depend only on subject or genre; what relationship with the art of cinema? Algorithms, by definition, are based on calculations that treat the viewer as a consumer and nothing else.

The next film from the 77-year-old director, Killers of the Flower Moon, was nevertheless produced by Apple, via its Apple TV + streaming platform. If a theatrical release is planned, it will then be available on the service of the Californian giant. A sad irony.


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