Dear Cinema I love you, but it's none of your business!
Saturday 01 January, 2022
Cinema was all set to go green in 2020. From movie sets to cinema venues, the entire industry had decided to focus on its environmental impact.
Whilst the #metoo movement had led to a 15% increase in subsidies for films which "were exemplary in terms of gender parity", the challenge of climate change could certainly lead to the implementation of a green bonus with the arrival of "eco-managers" in movie production. It is entirely possible to respect our environment, whilst also cutting the cost of films.
Whether it be giving new life to movie props, to cutting the use of plastic cups and bottles on movie sets, the choice of electric vehicles for travel, promoting the use of coffee grounds, not to mention the catering provided by local producers, and of course the use of refillable water bottles for crew members, every gesture counts.
There are so many habits that need to be changed.
And then, crash, bang, wallop, Covid came along!
And suddenly all our good intentions went up in smoke, and we had to simply save our industry, plastic cups resurfaced, and the eco-assistant was replaced by a Covid-assistant.
Absurd expenditure came back to the fore.
The headlines announced that, finally, cinemas would be in the green; but they weren't talking about the sale of local organic sweets and snacks or the green origin of popcorn eaten during films; they were in fact referring to the account balances as visitor numbers once more began to rise.
The only glimmer of good news, due to Covid, was the relocation of film sets to France.
For so long, directors had placed so much attention on filming techniques. They had a really solid, creative relationship with techniques. Film stock had made this a necessity, as it is much more difficult to film using a film stock than digitally.
Lumière & Company - Claude Lelouch @ Sarah Moon - Cinétévé - 1995. All rights reserved.Yeah, we are passionate about what w're shooting! Shit!
To boot, some directors boasted about not using any special techniques, and this was simply a disaster which brought everyone down to a lower level. They had the impression that there were no real challenges to filming, and could simply arrive on set with their hands in their pockets.
Talent doesn't lie in the tools, but in the holder.
Just a few years ago, more often than not directors would be stood right next to the camera during each take, so as to be as close as possible to the talent's performance. Today, they sit behind the video assist, quite a distance away, and quite naturally this has consequences on the talent's true involvement.
After each take, when the talent has finished performing, there is nobody to look at aside the camera operator and the boom operator, everyone else is sat behind a screen. Talents have been abandoned.
Jean-Pierre Beauviala, the father of the Cantar recorder, loved to make light of his invention and its logic which forced the user to make a choice between 0 and 1, and he would often joke, stopped people from having to think between zero and infinity.
The beauty of choosing between 0 and 1 is that you are either one or the other, it's black or white. Thinking became binary, which is not very conducive to deep reflection, nor to creativity and this was felt on cinema sets where the thought process would become increasingly rare.
It's more about what can or cannot be done by the technology.
Choices are, most often, made like that: let the tools decide for us, nothing more. The current trend is leading us to act like robots. Technical advances are now serving up virtual worlds which we struggle to differentiate from the real world.
Thanks to the use of a "chatbot" with voice recordings, we can make someone say what we want, we can even bring the dead to life.
We are totally incapable of telling apart Gérard Depardieu from one of his purely virtual video avatars.
We spend infinite amounts of energy and money in trying to humanise robots, would it not be simpler to robotise humans?
Thoughts on a postcard?
DC Audiovisuel would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous 2022 and hoping that the new wave, this time not in reference to Covid, but to cinema, is indeed worthy of Rohmer, Truffaut, Resnais, Godard, Rivette, et al.