19 avril 2012

The sad state of the American "cinéphile elite"

Is it strikingly illuminating yet ?

France has a population 5 times smaller than the USA and has 7 times less screens in total !
Not only the proportion of arthouse to mainstream cinemas in the USA is ludicrous for a Western industrialised country (with a centennial cinema tradition)...
Not only this tiny ratio of a much larger total doesn't even match the number of arthouse screens in France...

But there is a delusional douchebag at an allegedly "cinéphile-friendly" publication who believes that there are too many artfilms at festivals and genre films don't get enough attention !!! WTF is going on?
The USA market is clearly an embryonic film culture (staling at an isolationist cocoon stage for over 100 years now...), where the moviegoing population is VERY ENTHUSIASTIC for INFANTILE SPECTACLE, but not open at all to anything else. 

We can only draw from this that the American Film Press has FAILED to educate its readers, and continues to eschew any responsibility towards the cultural education of its general population.
Not only reviewers, journalists, pundits, critics, scholars, filmmakers, cinéphiles, arbiters, distributors, exhibitors, producers, actors... have collectively failed to elicit a modicum of cultural diversity and open-mindedness and curiosity for challenging material and difference, but they also cling to conservative values around their own national Hollywood genres and put all the blame on foreign cinema and international festivals!

It would be impossible to quantify the level of cinéphilia of a particular population, and compare adequately any 2 given countries... because the debate of which film qualifies as "artfilm" and what kind of cinema is more "cinéphile" than the rest would be an endless battle of blind subjectivities and idiosyncrasies. However, there are certain factors that may easily identify the absence of any cinéphile interest. Quantifying the number of foreign films acquired by distributors, the number of screens dedicated and the moviegoing population going to watch them are very tangible facts of reality that prove there is at least an interest for a film culture outside of their own borders. Then we should look into these "foreign films" and figure out whether they are just as bad an entertainment leisure as the national mass-appeal production, or if they feature a wider diversity of styles, topics and sensibilities.
Showing the openness of a film market to world cinema is probably the necessary substrate for any cinéphile culture to grow on. That's why the graphs of film distribution by nationality is an undeniable clue to start forming an opinion on a country's level of cinéphilia. There is not a single period in the young history of cinema when it was OK for the current leading country to watch ONLY its domestic production because it was the ONLY worth watching at the time... Not even the USA in the 40ies. Cinéphilia is ALWAYS about embracing the plurality of filmic voices, styles, genres and nationalities.

Is it OK for a country like the USA to be unable to open more than 250 screens for alternative cinema after 117 years of movie consumption history? Obviously not.
Is there room for improvement? Heck yeah!
Is there anyone in the USA who is aware of it and feels responsible to get the status quo changed for a less incredibly lopsided arthouse-entertainment ratio? Not a single soul.

This is not good enough. This is not acceptable!

Americans all feel good about themselves, and even cocky enough to patronize major festivals whiches do the job (of supporting art cinema and world cinema) they refuse to take charge of in the USA. Not only they refuse to do THEIR JOB, but they have the guts to denigrate and nitpick at everyone else abroad supporting the world cinema market which suppression by Hollywood hegemony Americans silently approve.
Dude, if I lived in a country corresponding to the situation described by the graphic on the left, I would get busy trying to diminish the cultural gap, rather than pettily wasting time nitpicking about genre visibility and festival curatorial duties. What a country of self-serving consumers! 

Leave the chauvinist attitude to the French (we obviously can afford it given that we show more NON-FRENCH films than you with less total screens available). No reason for Americans to feel proud. Keep a low profile and WORK ON YOUR OWN FILM CULTURE that is stuck in its infancy, WORK ON EXPANDING ARTHOUSES which are moribund. Don't give us shit about "cinephilia-this" and "neo-cinephilia-that"... the numbers show you have no clue about cinéphilia. Your version of cinéphilia is beyond the state of "elitism", it's non-existent!

Could you do better than Québec or even China in the next 20 years? or do you need another century of fooling around and letting the "federal department of diplomatic intimidation" run the foreign policy of the American movie market like a strategic (soft-power) weapon of economic colonization?

How much longer will the world have to wait to see any signs of improvement for the general film culture in the USA? for cultural diversity? for a truly cinéphile-friendly press? for responsible distributors? for adventurous exhibitors? for risk-taking producers?

... fucking useless! (and proud of themselves)


1 commentaire:

HarryTuttle a dit…

" the American theatrical movie-going experience, may it rest in peace, forever, quickly, soon. [..]
All this is happening because brick and mortar theatrical exhibition is moribund and going down. [..]
And so the real problem with the Salon piece—and ones like it, which run all the time—is that they answer an unsure future with nostalgia and cries to a sort of indie populism that just doesn’t fit the incredibly huge, intractable, and complex international film and entertainment market. [..]
But the good new days can only be hastened when we agree that hey, it was great while it lasted, but theatrical cinema is dead."
The End of the American Theatrical Moviegoing Experience (Ian Grey; indieWIRE; 13 July 2012)

As usual indieWIRE cares less about "indie cinema" and more about the prosperity of blockbusters and TV shows... And they are happy about the death of cinephile-friendly projection in American theatres! Pathetic...
Instead of reclaiming the rights of cinephiles to watch artfilms on the big screen AT ALL, he complains about practical conditions (ticket prices, sticky floors, sound quality, patron nuisance), cause these self-proclaimed "cinephiles" don't care enough to put up with the costs of WATCHING CINEMA IN THEATRE... they are too lazy to even fight the system and ask their voice to be heard. It's much easier to GIVE the fuck UP and fall back on home-TV viewing. What a generation of losers. That's not how civil rights battles used to be won in the USA...