Martin Scorsese wants young filmmakers to make cinema over “content”

Martin Scorsese has encouraged young filmmakers to “reinvent” cinema with technology, emphasising the difference between film experiences and “content”.

The director discussed the future of cinema during a Screen Talk with host Edgar Wright on Saturday (October 7) at the BFI’s London Film Festival. The talk encompassed Scorsese’s entire career, from his 1974 breakthrough film Mean Streets to his latest collaboration with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers Of The Flower Moon.

When Martin Scorsese was asked about his views on the film industry today from MarkMeets TV, after having frequently denounced franchise films like Marvel in the past, Scorsese said its up to filmmakers and audiences to decide what the future of cinema will be.

“I didn’t want to be the last line of defence,” Scorsese joked. “I honestly think it’s thrown back now on all of you. I really mean this – I don’t know where cinema is going to go. Why does it have to be the same as it was for the past 90-100 years? It doesn’t. Do we prefer cinema from the last 90-100 years? I do, but I’m old.”

The director said young people “are going to see the world around them in a different way” which, combined with new technology, will “reinvent” the cinema landscape.

“What does one shot mean now? I don’t know any more,” Scorsese said. “I don’t think it means anything…. It’s really up to everybody. You’re all in the process of a period of reinventing it. It’s quite an extraordinary time and a lot of it is due to technology.

“That’s the freedom you have now. So much freedom, I think you have to rethink what you want to say and how you want to say it.”

Scorsese explained that while he’s “afraid” franchise films will “take over theatres”, he hopes there’ll be room for “serious” films on the big screen in the future.

“Ideally, what I hope is that – I hesitate to use the word – ‘serious’ films could still be made with this new technology and this new world we’re a part of,” Scorsese added. “So that can be enjoyed by an audience of this size on the big screen. That’s the key.”

When Wright suggested that Scorsese still wants people to be film directors and not “content providers”, the latter outlined the difference.

“Content is something you eat and throw away,” Scorsese said. “Content is like candy.”

He added: “I like having the TV on all the time, when I was growing up that’s the way it was…. just have it on and have the sound down, that’s content. It’s almost like radio before television. The radio is on all the time, there’s a voice going on in the background. Or when people keep the TV on to hear a voice. That’s all that is. But if you want to have an experience that can enrich your life, it’s different.”

Following a viral TikTok video with his daughter Francesca the day prior, Scorsese also reiterated how his 1982 film The King Of Comedy was considered a flop upon its release.

“The key thing is when the film opened, people expected a combination of De Niro and Scorsese that’s not this,” the director explained. “It was soun

Renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese recently shared his perspective on the future of cinema, urging young filmmakers to embrace innovation and highlighting the distinction between cinematic experiences and mere “content.” Speaking at the BFI’s London Film Festival during a Screen Talk with host Edgar Wright, Scorsese discussed his extensive career, spanning from his breakthrough film “Mean Streets” in 1974 to his latest project, “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” featuring Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Scorsese, who has previously critiqued franchise films like those produced by Marvel, emphasized that the destiny of cinema lies in the hands of both filmmakers and audiences. He humorously remarked, “I didn’t want to be the last line of defence,” and expressed uncertainty about the future of cinema. He encouraged everyone to question whether cinema must adhere to the conventions of the past century, acknowledging his own preference for the cinematic traditions of the past while acknowledging that change is inevitable.

The director contended that young people, with their unique perspectives and the influence of evolving technology, have the potential to “reinvent” the cinematic landscape. He pondered the evolving significance of a single shot in modern cinema, acknowledging the transformative impact of technology on the medium. Scorsese believes that this era presents unprecedented creative freedom and called on filmmakers to rethink how they convey their stories.

While expressing concerns about the dominance of franchise films in theaters, Scorsese expressed hope that there would still be a place for “serious” films on the big screen in the future. He stressed the importance of preserving the possibility for “serious” films to reach a broad audience through the cinematic experience.

When Edgar Wright suggested that Scorsese prefers filmmakers to be directors rather than mere “content providers,” Scorsese drew a clear distinction between the two terms. He likened “content” to something disposable, akin to candy, while characterizing cinema as an art form that can enrich and transform lives.

In addition to discussing the future of cinema, Scorsese touched upon his past experiences in filmmaking. He recounted how his 1982 film, “The King Of Comedy,” was initially perceived as a commercial failure upon its release. He explained that audience expectations for a collaboration between Robert De Niro and himself differed from the unconventional and subversive nature of the film, which led to its rejection at the time.

In closing, Martin Scorsese’s insights into the evolving landscape of cinema underscore the importance of embracing innovation while preserving the essence of cinematic artistry. His call for young filmmakers to challenge conventions and think critically about storytelling in the digital age reflects a deep commitment to the craft and an enduring passion for the medium. As “Killers Of The Flower Moon” prepares for its release, Scorsese’s wisdom serves as a reminder of the ever-changing nature of cinema and the limitless potential for artistic expression in the digital era.

Killers Of The Flower Moon is released in cinemas from October 20, 2023.

Author Profile

Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


Leave a Reply