WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Thursday, November 07, 2019

All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter.

Two posts ago I linked to an op-ed by Martin Scorsese, Art vs. Commerce. I take Marty's point, if you go to the big movie multiplex today all you will find are the big soulless theme park movies. Grand hollow spectacles. Art is nowhere to be seen. It must be confounding, disturbing and heart-breaking for a filmmaker like Scorsese who came of age when art films actually had the opportunity to find a mass audience. Commerce has swamped Art. No doubt.

I remember seeing some great "art films" at first-run movie houses, the audience totally packed to the rafters, films like "Magnolia," "Taxi-Driver," "The Deer Hunter," "Apocalypse Now," "Scarface," "The French Connection," "The Exorcist," "The Shining," "Eyes Wide Shut," "Boogie Nights," "The Godfather (both I and II).

Those movies were able to cut through and reach a wide audience. Nowadays those films would either not be made, or would be found streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime. The movie business is a hard master.

But you know, Art will find a way. I also remember going to "art houses" to see movies by Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, Werner Herzog, Jean Luc Godard, Louis Malle, Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lean, Francois Truffant, Orson Welles. These films had just as much an impact as any of the others. Often I saw these films in nearly-empty theaters, with students and other cranky, off-kilter souls like me.

So yes, Art vs. Commerce. In the multi-plex, Commerce is triumphant, but you know, Art will find a way. It's like water. The creative impulse, the creative spirit cannot be crushed. It's the same in the world of Music, or Theater, or Poetry. Folks will create, they will put work out into the world. And if you seek you will find. All that is Gold does not glitter.

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