Commenting on the critics with Simon Columb…
Charles Saatchi wrote for The Guardian on Orson Welles and the tragic bulk of cinema that was ignored by the Oscars…
“A quick glance at the history of Oscar winners and nominations throws up many outstanding films that were passed over as Oscar finalists, with more mundane products regularly picking up the plaudits. Since 1950, none of the following movies have even been nominated for best film: North by Northwest; Some Like It Hot; Vertigo; The Searchers; When Harry Met Sally; Blade Runner; Cool Hand Luke; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Groundhog Day; Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
It is a fascinating article that highlights the completely flawed business of Hollywood and how incredible artists, such as Orson Welles, were treated unfairly throughout their time.
My personal issue is the control we, the public, have. Hollywood is a business and, like any business, the tickets we buy dictate what will and won’t be made in the future – Orange Wednesdays, Monthly Film Cards – they all count. People will happily watch a sub-standard action film that has been marketed to hell – stating how “well, it was a good way to pass the time” and “I watched it on my monthly film pass – so, it doesn’t matter”, etc. Whereas art-house and independent cinema, without the marketing clout and cinema screens, struggle to even get the slightest bit of recognition – desperately clinging to the talk of a film festival to gain free-publicity in the press. More often than not, I think you can tell a mile-off whether the film will be worth your time.
We should crave greatness from cinema, we should seek out personal, profound and political issues that directly inform, educate and entertain us. The very idea that cinema is “merely entertainment” puts the industry alongside the “entertainment” of Reality TV and Quiz Shows. When someone happily puts on the TV with no prior knowledge of what is on – simply happy to watch whatever Mr TV decides – it is clear that our own effort is at an all-time low. Don’t let this same lack-of-effort dictate the direction of the film industry.
If there is nothing decent on at the cinema, don’t settle for the one-which-was-advertised-during-Coronation Street! Maybe choose a different, smaller cinema… maybe choose to watch something you have never watched before… hunt down a Hitchcock, Kubrick or Almodovar … stream it from the countless legal websites that offer such-a-service.
Because Cinema deserves better.