Filmmaker Martin Scorsese is in the mood to retire and the director is serious when he says The Irishman could very well be his swansong.
The legendary director made headlines this year not only because his much-awaited gangster drama finally started streaming on Netflix, but also as he stirred up a debate in October by branding Marvel’s superhero films as “theme park experience” and “not cinema”.
In an interview with The Guardian, Scorsese reiterated the comments he later made in The New York Times op-ed how theatres today have no room for other kind of films, adding maybe he won’t be able to make more films post The Irishman.
“Obviously, we have been discussing this a lot, that theatres have been commandeered by superhero films you know, just people flying around and banging and crashing, which is fine if you want to see it.
“It’s just that there’s no room for another kind of picture. I don’t know how many more I can make maybe this is it. The last one. So the idea was to at least get it made and maybe show it for one day at the NFT, maybe one day at the Cinmathque in Paris. I’m not kidding,” the filmmaker said.
He again rallied for independent cinema, citing examples of Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird and Joanna Hogg-directed The Souvenir that these “genuine” films may not be considered commercial but are capable of finding a “large audience”.
“We are in a situation now where the theatres are only showing the latest superhero films. You have 12 screens and 11 are the superhero film. You enjoy superhero films, fine, but you need 11 screens? It’s crazy for a picture like, you know, Lady Bird or The Souvenir. Those films may not necessarily be hugely commercial, but there are films that are modest and genuine and find a large audience.
“Just because a film is commercial doesn’t mean it can’t be art. What has consumed the theatres is product. A product is to be consumed and thrown away. Look at a commercial film like Singin’ in the Rain. You can watch it again and again. So the question is: how are we going to protect the art form?” Scorsese, 77, asked.
The multiple Oscar-winning director said if he were to make The Aviator or Shutter Island today, he would be unsuccessful even with him and Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio attached.
“Now, you don’t have to like the picture, but you couldn’t get The Aviator made today. You could not get Shutter Island made today, even with me and Leo (DiCaprio). The Departed got made despite itself the star power helped. We realised when we were taking this project around that the doors are closing. So what’s going on? I looked over at the theatres right down the block 10 screens showing the same picture,” he said.
“People comment that we’ve only shown this film in theatres for four weeks. We tried to get more, but the theatre owners and Netflix couldn’t come to terms. But you know, I’ve had pictures play only one week and get thrown out. In the US, The King of Comedy closed in a week. That film was ignored for 10 years,” he added.