Saturday, 6 February 2010

The End of Indie Cinema?

I find this article fascinating, and terribly depressing.

The state of cinema in general is pretty dire at the moment, with the death of Miramax last week a tragic blow to quality filmmaking. The more i think about Avatar the more i dislike it. Pretty pictures are not what good cinema is about; plot, dialogue, acting, sheer feel-it-in-your-bones emotion, that is good cinema, and that's what the Academy appears to have forgotten.

Every time a film like this is made and gains acclaim, another film is left by the wayside. While everyone in the world is lavishing praise on a mindless piece of fantasy a truly exceptional film, adored by critics and anyone else who braved the cinema without the shield of 3D glasses is not nominated for a single American award. Moon, Duncan Jones's masterpiece, and in my opinion the best made film of the year, and the best sci-fi of the decade, has been ignored by the Academy, as well as the Golden Globes. The studio which produced it, Sony Pictures Classics, spent no money on awards publicity for it, not sending out screeners to academy members or hosting awards fundraisers as they do for other films. On Jones's twitter feed, @ManMadeMoon, he was inviting academy members round to his house to watch it. 

Jones said "[We] wanted to create something which felt comfortable within that canon of those science fiction films from the sort of late seventies to early eighties" and he succeeded. The film has the look and feel of classic 70's sci-fi, as though the station on which the character lives was built by the same people who built the Nostromo. The writing, the editing, the cinematography and the performance are all fantastic, so why did no one see it, and why is it not getting the attention it deserves?

The Academy Awards are supposed to be about celebrating excellence in the art of filmmaking, about showcasing the best and brightest, the most innovative and original. Money should not be a factor. Outstanding films made on a shoestring should be ranked higher than generic crowdpleasers made for billions. If the nominations are not based on quality then the awards lose their meaning, their prestige. If price triumphs over worth, how can the film industry be headed anywhere but the gutter?

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