“They don’t make ‘em like they used to.”
How often have we all heard that resigned expression? How often have we said it ourselves? ‘The death of cinema’ is debated in university film studies programs worldwide. Critics lament the loss of ‘small movies’ in favour of superhero spectacles. Box-office analysts look for signs of an industry on the brink. Studio executives fear that video-on-demand may destroy the idea of going to the cinema more than broadcast and cable TV ever did.
And what can we really call a new classic? What in recent vintage can hold its own on the big screen with the likes of The Searchers, The Godfather, The Rules of the Game, Seven Samurai or Citizen Kane? Some film journalists even think the movie star is a thing of the past.
Perhaps the fault lies not in our movie stars, but in ourselves. If you can’t find masterpieces amid the blockbuster flotsam, you simply aren’t looking hard enough. Film-making today, whether massively expensive or made with tiny budgets, shot on celluloid or video, is thriving artistically as much as it ever has. But today you’ll find greater diversity in the kinds of films being made, if not in the people who are making them. That’s why…