The monotonous drone of modern-day cinema truly is fantastic. Like ‘Fast Fashion’, ‘Fast Film’ is at its greatest peak of evolution. Directors such as Michael Bay are at the very forefront of this historic movement in cinema. He has contributed ten films in the past ten years, all with the same wonderfully pumped out, conglomerate, congealed and slapped together structure, complete with haphazard character development and a squeezed-out narrative to hone in on the tropes of lonely hero and misplaced man on earth. Honestly, it’s almost as bad as producing over twenty films in three different phases for a franchise built on the back of Robert Downey Jr. – we’re looking at you, Marvel. Why do it? To make a ‘quick buck’ (or over $6,869,545,308 for just five films)? Ask yourselves, are they even well-done? Can’t people realise that they are handing over at least £8 per film to just watch the same thing but with a different face?
To be fair to us consumers, we really are given little else to work with. The nearest repertory cinemas are in London, and to visit the British Film Institute every other weekend is a costly travel expense. Sure, we have our Curzon. But it does little more than put on one ‘classic’ every couple of months in an attempt to cling on to its dusty place under the Google search: Repertory Cinema, Oxford. To be fair, they did put on what was one of the greatest films shown last year. A 1976 film, The Other Side of the Wind, directed by Orson Welles. Modern cinema must be looking up if the greatest film of last year is an epic produced in 1976.
However, I do understand. I’m aware that I sound like I’m just moaning on about the severity of regurgitation in modern cinema whilst regurgitating about it myself. Of course, modern cinema is not too bad – it’s the mainstream stuff that is. We can’t exactly storm Hollywood (and I wouldn’t suggest that we do) or boycott all modern-day films. We just need to tweak what we watch and how. It is the ‘mainstream’ modern film that is sucking the true good films of our generation away. It is our lack of knowledge of these films, the lack of independent cinemas, and the sheer lack of trust and funding from production companies that is to blame for this regurgitation, not the likes of Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Andrew Bujalski. Perhaps the best that we can do is try to go back to those old veins of ‘true’ cinema, rediscover each individual labour of love by any director we can, dust it off, and return to it. Then we can see how cinema used to be able to move us, indulge us, and teach us, moreso than the current drawl is able to do.
This is what I intend to do. ‘Fast Film’ can no longer be an option. And why should it be? Why, when we have hundreds of films behind us that were not made to reap vast amounts of money, and instead exhibit the pains of laborious effort needed to produce something crafted with love. These films were made with originality and come from the human spirit. The directors created something that can never be replicated after it – that is one of a kind, rather than one of several other kinds.
This 1st week, I intend to introduce Nicholas Ray’s best work: In a Lonely Place, starring Humphry Bogart and Gloria Grahame. The title, I hope, is not akin to our 1st week back.
See you soon,
A diligent survivor of Michael Bay, Marvel, and the cheesy Rom-Coms that come with them.