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Directors should ‘control’ tech, not fear it: Scorsese

US cinema legend Martin Scorsese said directors should harness technology to serve their “voice.”

Scorsese told a packed press conference that he was upbeat about the future of big-screen entertainment, even with small-screen diversions on the march
Scorsese told a packed press conference that he was upbeat about the future of big-screen entertainment, even with small-screen diversions on the march - Copyright AFP Odd ANDERSEN
Scorsese told a packed press conference that he was upbeat about the future of big-screen entertainment, even with small-screen diversions on the march - Copyright AFP Odd ANDERSEN
Deborah COLE

US cinema legend Martin Scorsese said Tuesday directors should harness technology to serve their “voice” rather than fearing it will kill their industry.

Scorsese, nominated for a record 10th time for a best director Oscar for “Killers of the Flower Moon”, was speaking at the Berlin film festival where he is collecting an Honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.

He told a packed press conference that he was upbeat about the future of big-screen entertainment, even with small-screen diversions on the march.

“I don’t think it’s dying at all — no, I think it’s transforming,” he said when asked about the future of film. “It never was meant to be one thing.”

Scorsese, 81, said the movie-going of his youth had given way to a world of new possibilities that didn’t have to be threatening.

“If you wanted to see a movie, you went to a theatre — a good theatre or bad theatre but it was a theatre, it was always a communal experience,” he said.

Scorsese said with entertainment technology now changing “so exhaustively and rapidly”, “the only thing they (filmmakers) could really hold onto is the individual voice”.

The “Taxi Driver” director, whose playful videos with his daughter Francesca have made him a social media star for a new generation, said the medium was far less important than the spark of imagination.

“The individual voice can express itself on TikTok or express itself in a four-hour film or two-hour miniseries,” he said.

“What I’m getting at is that I don’t think we should let the technology scare us. I think you don’t become a slave to the technology,” he said.

“Let us control the technology and put it in the right direction — the right direction being from the individual voice rather than something which is just consumed and tossed away.”

– ‘Like Beethoven symphonies’ –

Scorsese, one of the most prolific film preservationists in the industry, recommended returning again and again to great works.

“Maybe if you see the film 30 years later, the film has changed and in actuality, the film’s the same but you’ve changed,” he said.

“And so somehow you might be able to grow with the films like listening to Beethoven symphonies — they change every time, they really do.”

Asked about his favourite recent movies, Scorsese singled out fellow Oscar nominees “Past Lives” by Celine Song and Wim Wenders’s “Perfect Days”.

Scorsese said as soon as the campaign for next month’s Academy Awards winds down he will focus on an upcoming project which returns one of his recurring themes: his Catholic faith.

He said he had met Pope Francis on a few occasions and discussed with him “fresher ways of thinking about the essentials of Christianity”.

Scorsese said he hoped the film would turn out to be “unique and different” as well as “thought-provoking but also entertaining”.

The Berlin film festival runs until Sunday.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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