Sunday, August 6, 2023

Film History #8 (The Future)

Moving forward as the world keeps advancing and the pace picks up more, innovation will continue to drive the making and distribution of film even farther.

Where the past was dominated by large studios like large factories, which gave way to independent-minded directors, and later, small independent films, the change from film stock to digital video makes it possible for anyone to make films nowadays.

 The Old

The New 

This democratization of filmmaking creates an environment where more is possible with less money. This creates more players in the arena. And with more online platforms to watch movies, it makes it more possible to reach an audience – even a small one.

In some ways, this can create a whole series of niche markets, where you don’t need a large audience, just enough to support what you’re doing.

While slow storytelling techniques are interesting and revealing, like in Les Rendez-vous d'Anna, a remarkable film that touches on some real human issues through the deliberate, plotless actions of one person as she navigates her life, the mass of viewers have been systematically trained over many years for quick cuts, surface level stories and slick visuals. That’s not to say, slow stories don’t have a following. They do. It is not of the blockbuster variety, but that’s okay in this modern filmmaking environment. So, there is one form that is working and ongoing within the world today Slow cinema - Wikipedia.

And innovation will lead to socially relevant films or even action films that contain elements relevant to our times, like The First Purge, which has a strong warning for our gun and media obsessed culture. It also is a terrifying story about how people will turn on each other with the proper incentives The First Purge - Wikipedia.

Masking itself in the action/horror genre with some generic politics tossed in, the movie hits a lot of the buttons that create visceral excitement for an audience while also making you wonder: Could this really happen? That’s one of the things that can happen when everything is available to be used. No censorship here and we wouldn’t want it, but the outcomes in the movie are scary in a very real sense.

The best way to sum up the changes is that walls have not only come down, but the entire edifice and structure of older filmmaking is going away. This leaves the path wide open to try anything.

And after studying for several weeks many different films and movements, you start to realize that for decades most audiences see is only a small portion of what is possible. Now, experimentation is fluid and rapid in technology and distribution. Also, the desire to please an audience that is well schooled in visual language on screens big and small is paramount. How can this be done? It’s almost like trying to feed a beast with a ferocious appetite.

In 20 years, one could guess most films will be watched at home on giant screens with full sounds systems to rival that of actual theaters. You’ll never need to leave your home. All that will be left to actual brick and mortar buildings will be the largest of screens of all, placing a premium on the movie going experience by offering a high-end experience. In some ways, the ways old theaters were cheap and accessible might go away.

There will be more genre bending franchises and stories will become more and more extreme to keep people watching. Of course, experimental film movements like slow cinema will exist, but again, the mass of people (where most of the money lives) won’t be interested in those kinds of films. The mass of audiences is like addicts who need their fix of quick-cuts, flashy visuals, and stories that say just enough without going deeper.

There also might be a callback to an earlier time, trying to make classic stories in a new way, or trying to replicate old techniques. This could happen where it concerns visual effects. Even with CGI, there is something inherently fake about special effects that calls attention to itself in movies. Perhaps working with more practical effects will come back.

One thing is certain, there will be more and more films available. This will thin the audiences out and the larger companies and brick and mortar buildings will struggle to survive. The content will be around, ready to watch on phones, computers, televisions, and big screens. We’ll be drowning in content. 






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