May 21, 2016

The death of the big screen


“That's certainly what the movie philosophers are thinking,“ says Lynda Obst veteran producer of Sleepless in Seattle and last year’s Interstellar. “As television, now, gets more and more deep into character and more like extended both Saturday afternoon matinees and indie movies, the job of movies is to become more and more extraordinary. We can't do the same job that television is doing so well.”  Film is the more purely visual medium. It has our full attention: each frame must pull its weight in terms of narrative or spectacle. We leave home to see it, and we want an experience that honors that spirit of adventure: we want to be swept of our feet, to go on a journey, to fall in love, to have our central nervous systems hijacked. That is why it is a director’s medium — it envelops us. TV comes to us, into our homes. It is casual, familiar, favouring habit-forming episodic narratives. That is why it is a writer’s medium.    The big screen glamorises; it’s stars the stuff of myth; the small screen is more like a member of the family. “I think you can probably watch Bridge of Spies at home but I wouldn't want to watch ET or Close Encounters of the Third Kind at home,” says Obst. “I wouldn't want to watch Revenant at home.  And something like The Avengers, it's too much fun laughing with the audience. So, these things are just communal experiences. We watch TV at home and we feel differently about television stars than we do about movie stars because the movie screen is much bigger and much more mythical. That's why the material is intrinsically different.”— from my piece for the Financial Times 

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