Iñárritu defends the small screen: Godard, Fellini still great on the computer
“If you hear Beethoven or Mozart on your headphones, isn’t that great music?” said the director of the Netflix film “Bardo”.
Alejandro González Iñárritu considers the state of cinema in the midst of the streaming era.
The “Bardo” director criticized the dilution of films based on viewing platforms, adding that films by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard or Federico Fellini are still successful on the small screen.
“I’m less concerned about technology and the way people watch movies, but about the fact that there is a dictatorship of ideas behind it. It’s about the movies that are made to please the media,” Iñárritu said Deadline while talking to co-directors Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón. “If you’re watching a Fellini movie or a Godard movie on your computer, it’s still a great movie. This does not change the power of the idea. But I think that ideas are ideologically reduced to computer size, and I think everyone is involved in that. We need to talk about the reduction of the idea, not the possibilities of the medium.”
Iñárritu continued: “In the past you could only hear music in concert halls, then came records and then radio. If you listen to Beethoven or Mozart on your headphones, won’t that be good music? Obviously it’s better to go into a concert hall and hear 120 musicians play it live, but however you hear it, it doesn’t diminish the idea behind the music.”
“Bardo,” del Toro’s “Pinocchio” and Cuarón’s “Roma” debuted on the Netflix streaming platform, which allows the movies to be viewed on laptops and even mobile devices, as well as in select theaters.
Del Toro agreed with Iñárritu, saying, “The size of the idea is definitely more important than the size of the screen. Cinema – the marketing and financial side – has always tried to limit the rules. Now, for example, you hear things like, “The algorithm says people should be hooked in the first five minutes of the movie,” but that was true in the 70s and 80s. This has always been true. You need a strong opening sequence.”
Del Toro added: “I think the cinema we’re getting now is post-Covid, post-Trump, post-truth cinema, and it’s very apocalyptic in a way. There are big movements that are very interesting. And we won’t see them fully until 10 years from now, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss them. This is a very interesting moment in cinema. A lot of it is like end-of-day cinema because people don’t talk about it in that context. I think the beauty is that new voices will rise up against this nonsense just as we have in our own age.
Cuarón then concluded: “This whole conversation about the death of cinema, yes, probably the death of cinema as you know it, but a new cinema is coming and why would it die now? What would be the reason? They claim, “Oh, fewer people go to the movies,” but I don’t know: more people are tied to their computers. We just have to acknowledge that the new generation deals with cinema differently. Of course, I love the experience of going to the movies and I go and see movies in the theater as often as I can. But I am by no means suggesting that this is the only way to experience a film. There are so many movies that I really enjoy watching on one platform. The platforms are taking the biggest hit in all of this because they don’t share their numbers without opening up the conversation about what kind of theater support certain types of theaters get.”
He compared the rise of streaming to the transition from silent films to talkies: “At the end of the 1920s, there was even talk of the death of the cinema, because sound came in. They said it wouldn’t survive and people would stop. to go to the cinema, said Cuarón. “I want to be clear, because in this conversation, when we talk about cinema being punished and ambition being punished, it’s not coming from the platforms, because the proof is here … I think we need to remember that and be more humble in the knowledge that that new generations come and bring the best out of these tools to create a wonderful tool of expression. So I think cinema will win.”
The “Three Amigos” also recently spoke at an Academy panel in Los Angeles last week. Read IndieWire’s summary here.
Register: Stay up to date with the latest movie and TV news! Subscribe to our email newsletter here.