Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Greenaway's True Cinema Definition?

Back in February 2007, on a visit to Berlin, I had come across a public talk given by the British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. A Turkish blog entry for the event is available at the following link.
For the non-Turkish speakers, the following summary should suffice for the purpose of this entry:

Greenaway gave a lecture to a full house at the Audimax of the Humboldt University in Berlin on 9 February 2007. He was surprised to see a big auditorium packed as that fine, cold Friday evening was also the opening night for Berlinale 2007. He delivered a speech he has been delivering for a while around the world, about why he thinks 'cinema has died' and there was need for a new definition for cinema. He summarised the 4 major "betrayal" characters of cinema that resulted in the 'death of it' as such:

1. Betrayal of the text
2. Betrayal of the frame (the spatial dimension)
3. Betrayal of the actor
4. Betrayal of the camera angles.

Basically, he was saying that, cinema was too much constrained by the inflexibility of the written text, the limitations of the frame, the inability of the actors to convey a potrait independent of their real-life personalities, and the limitations of capturing wide perspectives due to quasi-static attributes of camera angles.

The way forward for the cinema's new definition was in interactivity. The Tulse Luper Suitcases series he has produced in the last few years was his own way of trying this interactivity. I have to admit I could never get what he meant, maybe due to watching only bits of the T.L. Suitcases series, but I leave that up to film experts. In conclusion, a Renaissance painterly-art fetishist Greenaway has believed that there has never been a filmmaker who ever did 'real cinema', only those like Eisenstein came close to it.

I would like to divert the attention here now to an event held by the Future Cinema, a creative group who "creates large scale cinematic experiences, fusing feature film with music, theatre and live performance". One of these events is called Secret Cinema, where the audience is sent SMS/email alerts a day prior to a film screening event that is to be held at a secret location in the UK.

Future Cinema has recently held a special screening of Watchmen by the SE1 club under the railway arches of London Bridge. I was not lucky enough to get myself a ticket, but you can watch the reviews, some videos and pictures of the event at the following links provided...

Could this be the new definiton of the cinematic experience Greenaway was talking about a few years ago? Maybe little wonder it comes from the UK...

BBC 2 Video on the Event

Photos from the Event

Some Press Releases

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