Last week on CBC’s Q, I listened to a pretty fascinating interview (MP3) with cinematic auteur and hero of snobby cineastes Peter Greenaway. Greenaway was on to promote his latest film, Nightwatching (here’s an extended trailer).
I quite like Q host Jian Ghomeshi, but he was definitely fighting above his weight. Greenaway lectured him on a number of topics, including the ‘death of cinema’. I agreed with much of what Greenaway said, so I transcribed a few bits (only transcribe opinions you concur with, I always say):
Cinema now, with the laptop generation, Generation X, is really to do with an interactive, multimedia world and cinema can’t be that. Cinema cannot be democratic–it cannot create multiple endings. You can’t interface with it in any satisfactory way.
So, I think if we’re going to excite imaginations with the potentiality of this grand audio-visual experience, we’re going to find new ways of doing it. I would argue that the ‘Casablanca’ syndrome–that cut-and-dry bedtime story for adults–is really finished. It doesn’t really have a place anymore.
That’s not to say the screen is going to disappear. I have a mobile phone in my pocket, and I suspect you have too. And it has a screen.
And here’s another good bit:
We’re now all lateral thinkers, and certainly we are encyclopedists. We are browsers, we are laptop users. So we have to refashion this media to be relevant to contemporary imaginations.
I’m fond of saying that, before too long, going to the cinema will join the ballet and the opera as dated, niche entertainments that appeal to a few. Mr. Greenaway just said it better.