I’ve tagged this compelling post under the title of Cinematography, which is, admittedly, stretching the remit of my blog a bit, but an article from today’s British Guardian merits attention. Although two of the films mentioned – “Ida” and “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” – are beyond sublime cinematographically and deserve more than a mere footnote, the real reason I’ve reposted is to share the central premise of the article: Movies matter. We live in an age where most of our cultural gatekeepers have been demoted by a digital democracy championing an understanding that everything is now commodity: A sense that it doesn’t matter what you make so long as it satisfies a market need or want. This is unfortunate. The best movies, like the best art, usually come out of left field – uninvited and unexpected. The market is like a two-way mirror. The market is never surprised. It only observes. It consumes – never creates. Great movies, on the other hand, are always mirrors of who we are inside. The movies mentioned in the article are great movies. Worth a read. Link to article: I watch therefore I am: seven movies that teach us key philosophy lessons | Film | The Guardian.
I’m still struggling with dichotomies that the internet presents; especially in relation to artistic expression. Yes, I’m delighted that the ‘gatekeepers’ of old have been banished to analog history. Yes, I’m thrilled and enthralled by the explosion of creativity and freedom that the technology now affords everyone with access to a keyboard. But more is not necessarily better. Without curation, of any kind, isn’t there the danger that genuine nuggets of sheer brilliance become submerged in a tsunami of drivel and dross? How to achieve gravitas in an insta-everything world, where attention spans are measured in microseconds and ideas and thoughts are relegated to mere trinkets and trivia for insta-consumption: Or as the industry jargon would say – ‘creative content’. An oxymoron if there ever was one. I could be accused of elitism – and you’d probably be right. But it’s worth bearing in mind, that the analog elitism of old invested time and money in nascent artistic talent that, although not guaranteeing a livelihood, certainly provided for the possibility of financial security down the line. Today, even the most talented and successful musicians are paid a pittance by online streaming sites like Spotify. The ‘Long-Tail’ business model, that owners of the distribution channels like Google and YouTube expound, are very profitable for them – less for the creators of that ‘content’. A pittance multiplied by a thousand ‘hits’ is still a pittance. A thousand ‘hits’ multiplied by quadrillions of sites makes the shareholders of those channels very happy indeed. I understand Godin when he says the onus is now on you – the creator- to create. No excuses. No gatekeepers to block your way. Build a ‘market’ of 100 believers in your creativity – forget about mass markets. But creative people have bills as well. Some people are getting very rich indeed when creative people say “Yes” – but I can assure you; it’s not the creators.