Emir Kusturica • Fondateur et directeur du Festival de Küstendorf
"Les films que j'aime ne trouvent plus leur place pour se rapprocher du public, pour être artistiques et commerciaux à la fois"
par Bénédicte Prot
- À l'occasion du 12e Festival du film et de la musique de Küstendorf, nous avons interrogé Emir Kusturica sur ce qui le préoccupe quant à l'avenir du cinéma
Cet article est disponible en anglais.
At the 12th Küstendorf Film and Music Festival, Cineuropa met up with its founder and head, Serbian director Emir Kusturica, to talk about several recent phenomena that need to be acknowledged, and how they may affect the future of the cinema.
Cineuropa: At this year’s edition of Küstendorf, the motto of which ("The perfect dozen") is all about perfection, in your inaugural speech, you voiced quite a few concerns.
Emir Kusturica: Those are the questions and themes that I think are relevant to the continuation of the cinema today. I am positive that the cinema is going to survive. The only thing is that we don't know in which way, and for those people who are very attached to theatres, as I am, it is unsettling to see that the future of film is home cinema, movies on television or cineplexes, and that we are going to lose this kind of passion, or that it will be killed off by the market. This is why festivals are important: they will remain the principal supporter of the classical way of screening films. Even the language of the auteurs now seems to be compromising, visually and formally, between the theatrical format and the fact that a film will be watched on other screens.
You talked about the electronic image, scrolling and ads as worrisome adversaries for the cinema. Small-screen-native content in general seems to have imposed a more linear and simplistic type of narration.
Ads are awful because they kill the perception of time, and if you look at good movies like Dogman [+lire aussi :
interview : Matteo Garrone
fiche film] or Happy as Lazzaro [+lire aussi :
interview : Alice Rohrwacher
fiche film] [screened as part of the Contemporary Trends programme and followed by workshops], you can see that they operate with time, in two different ways. The style of a great director is in fact defined by the way they work with space and time. Unfortunately, I don't know to what extent these films will succeed in cinemas. Today, I don't believe that you can make it when you’re up against all the movies that are produced for multiplexes, unless you have a stupid Hollywood-type story conceived to please the masses worldwide, supported by aggressive advertising to create that audience.
The language of commercial cinema has been simplified, and the length of time that every artist has to reach the audience is short. Take the French-Belgian movie we screened here, Close Enemies [+lire aussi :
interview : David Oelhoffen
fiche film]: what a good film! I was amazed when I saw it! And also shocked, because for me, this incredible film is as close as it gets to having the best possible chance of reaching a huge audience, and yet it didn't reach it, and this is a dangerous sign for the future. More and more movies will get made as time goes on, but unfortunately, more and more good movies will go undiscovered. Back in 1985 and 1995, when I presented movies at Cannes, it was possible to be well received both by the critics and in theatres, but it is difficult to gain acceptance from both nowadays.
So there was a rift? Do you see a glimmer of hope that this situation will be resolved in years to come?
What I have noticed is that there is no way for the movies I love the most to get close to the audience, to be artistic and commercial at the same time. Now the public is divided: auteur and mainstream films are two separate things. Zhang Yimou recently told me, "I've just done a commercial movie; now I'm going back to art." When I was growing as a filmmaker, the best approach was to combine both, but today I don't think it's possible. The problem, with human history as well as culture, is that however clear your vision of the conditions that the future will be built on may be, you cannot predict it. The way cinema will develop cannot be predicted, especially not on the basis of the good movies that you see. What dominates is the cinema that people accept and, in a way, expect. An American sociologist named Stark said something that made a big impression on me: that the perfection of the image has been substituted for God, and that we are not moving towards a holy trinity, but rather towards ourselves. We have become part of an ideology, or part of an advertisement of some kind.
In spite of it all, you ended your speech with a universal, simple and pure definition of what a good film is: one that speeds up the heart rate.
I mentioned I was amazed and in shock after seeing Close Enemies, but Happy as Lazzaro, too, is the work of a very talented director, influenced by the best traditions from different periods in Italian cinema: Antonioni, Rossellini, De Sica, with his need to show that there are, in this world, some people who are so good that they are invincible, and could be the heroes of our time. The perfection of this film lies in Alice Rohrwacher's political engagement and her ideas about life, which are very strong.
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