Film legend Martin Scorsese decries his industry’s embrace of streaming content in a new essay published by Harper’s Magazine.
The piece, called "Il Maestro" and written for Harper’s March issue, takes a hard line to present day film - specifically "content," in Scorsese’s words.
The Academy Award-winning director, writer and producer wrote that "content" now refers "all moving images: a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, a series episode."
"It was linked, of course, not to the theatrical experience but to home viewing, on the streaming platforms that have come to overtake the moviegoing experience, just as Amazon overtook physical stores. 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."
Scorsese has been active on digital platforms, including his Oscar-nominated "The Irishman," released by streaming giant Netflix in 2019. In defense of his opinion, Scorsese added: "Curating isn’t undemocratic or ‘elitist,’ a term that is now used so often that it’s become meaningless."
The crux of the essay is the story and influence of filmmaker Federico Fellini, the legendary Italian director and screenwriter.
"We can’t depend on the movie business, such as it is, to take care of cinema," Scorsese concluded. "In the movie business, which is now the mass visual entertainment business, 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."