Martin Scorsese Believes That Streaming Services Have ‘Devalued, Sidelined, Demeaned’ Movies

Iconic filmmaker Martin Scorsese is back with a scorching hot take on the state of cinema, and no, it’s not about the Marvel movies this time. In a new essay celebrating the filmography of Italian director Federico Fellini, Scorsese fires a series of scathing criticisms at streaming services, which he believes are committing a cardinal sin. “The art of cinema is being systematically devalued, sidelined, demeaned, and reduced to its lowest common denominator, ‘content,'” Scorsese writes.

While acknowledging that he’s benefitted from the current climate of streaming services that are eager for “content,” (See: The price tag Netflix forked over for The Irishman), Scorsese has concerns that good films are being unceremoniously buried when “content” now means “all moving images” from a Super Bowl commercial to a David Lean movie. Via Harper’s Bazaar:

On the one hand, this has been good for filmmakers, myself included. On the other hand, it has created a situation in which everything is presented to the viewer on a level playing field, which sounds democratic but isn’t. If further viewing is “suggested” by algorithms based on what you’ve already seen, and the suggestions are based only on subject matter or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema?

After going long on his love for Fellini, Scorsese returned to his concerns about streaming services and cautioned filmmakers from assuming the “movie business” will take care of things. “The emphasis is always on the word ‘business,’ and value is always determined by the amount of money to be made from any given property,” Scorsese writes before presenting a bleak outlook on this new digital age. “In that sense, everything from Sunrise to La Strada to 2001 is now pretty much wrung dry and ready for the ‘Art Film’ swim lane on a streaming platform.”

(Via Harper’s Bazaar)