Our Film Critics Discuss the Future of Movies
Movie theaters are open for business again, and the film world is abuzz with new release dates, in-person festivals, an accelerating Oscar race, an array of Covid-19 protocols and anxious prognostications. Is this the death of cinema (again) or its glorious rebirth? Or has it mutated into something new altogether, a two-headed Disney-Netflix monster with art somewhere in its genome? Our chief film critics, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott, have some thoughts on these matters. They also asked some industry veterans to weigh in.
MANOHLA DARGIS Hello, friend — it’s been a while. I recently returned from a book leave and having failed to win the lottery, I am back (happily!). I ignored most of the movie news while I was gone, though was sad to learn about the closure of my favorite theater here in Los Angeles, the ArcLight Hollywood, which was felled by the lockdowns. It felt like the beginning of the end of something, but here we are in a new season that looks more like 2019 than 2020 — even with requests to see our vax cards. What’d I miss?
A.O. SCOTT You didn’t miss much, except for a few episodes in the continuing discourse — part soap opera, part séance, part tech seminar — about the Future of Movies. Judged solely from the slate of upcoming releases (some held back from 2020), that future looks a lot like the recent past. The fall will see new work from both Andersons, Wes and P.T. Jane Campion’s first feature in more than a decade. A new James Bond. The predominance of familiar directors and stars along with newly minted auteurs (like Chloé Zhao, following her best picture win for “Nomadland” with a Marvel spectacle) creates a reassuring sense of continuity. Cinema as we have known it seems to still exist.
By: Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott