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He turns off the television and takes off his shoes and socks.
March 25, 2012 9:08 AM   Subscribe

"Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?" [Vimeo] During the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, Wim Wenders set up a static camera in room 666 of the Hotel Martinez and provided selected film directors (inc. Spielberg, Godard, Fassbinder & Herzog) a list of questions to answer concerning the future of cinema. Each director was given one 16 mm reel (approximately 11 minutes) to answer.
posted by urbanwhaleshark (20 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
The cinema itself might be, due to overcharging and the increased selfish assholery of the general public.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 9:14 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watch quickly, American MeFites; I very much doubt that Cpá TV has the rights to distribute this in the US.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:17 AM on March 25, 2012


Cinema Fun Fact: This is the first film shot by one of my favorite cinematographers, Agnes Godard (no relation). Her best-known work is with Claire Denis, on such movies as Beau Travail, The Intruder and 35 Shots of Rum. The two of them met on the "set" of Room 666, where Denis was working as Wim Wenders' assistant.
posted by alexoscar at 9:50 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now if only Wenders' Pina could get a real release instead of this limited engagement single theater thing it's been doing...
posted by hippybear at 9:51 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was sure this was going to be about the disappearing 35mm format. Here's an excellent piece by David Bordwell about digital vs. film: Pandora’s digital box: Pix and pixels.
posted by muckster at 10:23 AM on March 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was sure this was going to be about the disappearing 35mm format.

In a piece from 1982? I'm pretty sure that digital film hadn't even really been dreamed of in any practical way in 1982.
posted by hippybear at 10:26 AM on March 25, 2012


Oh, man. I love that Herzog speaks in German exactly the same way he speaks in English.
posted by hippybear at 10:27 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


hippybear: Overvhelming glooom transcends all boundreees.
posted by phrontist at 10:31 AM on March 25, 2012


Cable shows like 'The Wire,' were distant dreams when this piece was made. Great documentaries like Planet Earth were hoped for, but nonexistent. Avatar, a 3d movie I have positive feelings for, was also a distant dream of sci-fi enthusiasts. Were ground-breaking movies like The Matrix a healthy, creative branch in film history?
posted by uraniumwilly at 10:36 AM on March 25, 2012


Well, no, hippybear, I was referring to the linked text. But as A.O. Scott pointed out recently, film is always about to die: "They just don’t make them like they used to."
posted by muckster at 10:39 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was referring to the linked text

The only link I see in the FPP is to a vimeo video, but perhaps we're not using the same browser.
posted by hippybear at 10:46 AM on March 25, 2012


Could somebody inform me of the order in which the directors appear in this? I'm watching it now, but it'd be nice to know who I'm listening to and they aren't identified while the film plays.
posted by maryr at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2012


Oh come on, I said I was referring to the linked text, which reads "Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art about to die?" For the last decade or so, whenever someone talked about cinema as art about to die, more often than not it was about the switch to digital. That's what the conversation is these days, so that's what I expected. I was wrong.

Does that explain it to your satisfaction?
posted by muckster at 11:19 AM on March 25, 2012


Could somebody inform me of the order in which the directors appear in this?

I have no idea who a lot of them are. Herzog was immediately identifiable by his voice. I think that Fassbinder was the big guy with the beard and 70s-ish clothes. Spielberg is pretty easy to spot. The rest of them, I have no idea.

Wikipedia, of course, has all the answers.
posted by hippybear at 11:24 AM on March 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, it's great that somebody put this up – what an awesome little piece it is. I've always loved it, and it's a shame that it has not always been easy to find.

Wim Wenders was in his most fruitful period then. He'd also recently made the excellent and beautiful travelogue Tokyo-Ga, a meditation on the work of Yasujiro Ozu which includes a nice scene with Werner Herzog atop a tower in Tokyo, gesturing angrily at the city below and announcing that he's going to get on a rocket and go make films in space because "it is not POSSIBLE to make films here on earth any more!"

This excellent little Wenders film is actually one of the special features on the Criterion Collection release of Ozu's classic Late Spring. I highly recommend that set; they make a great double feature, and I've watched both innumerable times and loved them more and more each time.

maryr: “Could somebody inform me of the order in which the directors appear in this? I'm watching it now, but it'd be nice to know who I'm listening to and they aren't identified while the film plays.”

The Wikipedia page for the film lists the people in order of appearance.
posted by koeselitz at 11:24 AM on March 25, 2012


Enjoyed this, thanks for posting.
posted by carter at 11:26 AM on March 25, 2012


ET cost 10.3 million?! I bet the studio books show it as a break-even.
posted by hal9k at 11:27 AM on March 25, 2012


ET cost 10.3 million?!

I thought his comments on the simple locations for ET were interesting as well. A house and some kids. I'm pretty sick of CGI and green screen in films.
posted by carter at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2012


I wonder how much thought went in to choosing what channel the TV was set to during the internviews. Godard ends up talking about moving backwards and forwards in cinema and he's watching a tennis matching. The Filipino director seems to have some sort of world news behind him and links the future of cinema to the future of his country. Spielberg talks about the limitations that studios put on film-makers and his TV is set to some sort of parlimentery procedures. Antonioni's TV is set to nothing and he's the only one to go to the window.


That said, the interrupting phone call at 19:20 (from Wikipedia, I think it is Romain Goupil?) was one of my favorite bits of the film. "Allo? Euh, no, il y a nobody here. I am halone. Euh, je veux- I don't know because I am halone. I can't answer to you." Goupil, Godard, and Antonioni were the most engaging, to me.
posted by maryr at 12:15 PM on March 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Interesting concept for a film, but the subject matter is a bit too esoteric for a popular audience.

You know what this needs to succeed?

A little puppy... and product placement.
posted by markkraft at 3:41 AM on March 26, 2012


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