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Δευτέρα, 6 Δεκεμβρίου, 2021
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionCultureAnd that’s a wrap! 2020 ranked

And that’s a wrap! 2020 ranked


By Mado Gianni, 

2020 has been mostly about Covid-19. I cannot contest that but what I will argue against is the popular opinion that a lot of movies from now on will be pandemic-inspired, apocalypse-related or fantasy/zombie-centred. Even though it sounds very plausible at first, it will definitely not come to fruition as our imagination extends -and it always has- way beyond the realm of this world. At least, I hope so. And as if that is not enough to disturb our cinematic culture, there also comes the post-modern, tech-born implication that cinema is somehow disappearing into online platforms and into unknown waters of production and distribution.

Are these worries real? Are movies under threat? It has been a challenging year -and the health crisis is not even over yet- but one of the most commonly adapted reactions has been that every crisis is an opportunity to readjust, rethink and reevaluate the terms of the life we have had so far towards the one lying ahead. With no further ado, let us dive into an overview of what we missed this year, consider the good and the bad potential scenarios of what will happen next and imagine where this turmoil could take the film industry and the tradition of the movie-going practice that has been around for more than a hundred years.

What we missed

The French Dispatch by Wes Anderson was supposed to premier in Cannes last May. The Cannes Film Festival was cancelled and so the movie was postponed until further notice. The film is a Wes Anderson classic set in a fictional 20th century French city centering on three storylines or as it has been described by Anne Thompson of Indie Wire, “a love letter to journalists”. It has been scheduled to be released on an unspecified date next year.

Dune by Dennis Villeneuve is probably one of the biggest losses of this year. It is based on the 1965 science fiction book of the same name by Frank Herbert and controversy has it that many filmmakers have tried to make this film in the past including Alejandro Jodorowsky in the early ‘70s and David Lynch in the early ‘80s. Villeneuve has created so many sci-fi wonders in the past that it only makes the build-up of expectations for this one as palpable as ever. The film was initially going to be released in December 2020, but it has been postponed to October 2021.

Dune, Dennis Villeneuve

West Side Story by Steven Spielberg marks also a big loss. It was initially scheduled to premiere on the 18th of December 2020 but has now been pushed back a whole year to the 20th of December 2021. An adaptation of the original 1961 film of the same name West Side Story by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, Spielberg’s film undeniably competes against one of the greatest musicals ever made.

The Last Duel by Ridley Scott, a medieval war story starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck has also been postponed to a year after its initial release date on October 15th, 2021. Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinksi was going to premier in June 2020, but it was pushed back to December 2020 and it has now been moved to July 2021. A Quiet Place Part II by John Krasinski premiered in New York in March 2020 but will be theatrically released in April 2021. For more, you can see here.

What we could have missed

Our Netflix releases include: Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods which was released on the 12th of June, I am thinking of ending things by writer and director Charlie Kaufman released on the 4th of September, The Trial of Chicago Seven by Aaron Sorkin which debuted on the 25th of September and David Fincher’s new film Mank which premiered on the 4th of December. Only a few out of multiple films that made their debut on the streaming platform this year.

Tenet by Christopher Nolan rolled out to the theatres in September 2020 after its release date was pushed back multiple times and three months later has been made available for online streaming, the cheapest option being at Amazon Prime for 19,99 $. The animated film Soul by Peter Docter after many alterations on its release schedule, premiered on Disney+ this December at a “free to all subscribers” notice unlike other films that were subject to a “premiere access” pass only.

Perhaps one of the most controversial screenings of all times, Wonder Woman 1984 by Patty Jenkins made its theatrical premiere online on Christmas Day. A Warner Bros. Pictures distribution decision made it available on HBO Max and only some select theatres, in the latter case scoring 80% less in domestic box office revenue than its prequel Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017).

I’m thinking of ending things, Charlie Kaufman

The issue of the battle between online steaming and cinema theatres

Apart from the films that I already mentioned which have been postponed to 2021, there are also a handful of films under production right now set to premier the next couple of years. Amongst them, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon starring both his muses, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in what can be described as a lifetime spectacle. During this past decade, James Cameron had been re-thinking Avatar over and finally tied the knot towards the Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 sequels, the former initially set to premier in just a year from now but later pushed back another 12 months. That said, there are many reasons to look forward to what’s coming next.

Streaming is already here, and it has been for several years. It was always a possible direction for the film industry to gradually embrace. Maybe not as emphatically and quickly as Jason Kilar, chief executive of WarnerMedia, prompted to do when he announced that Warner Bros. will release all 17 films lined up for 2021 simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max. But if it was not him, it would have been someone else. Sooner or later, covid-19 health crisis or not, the issue would have to be confronted.

“There are some things that you can talk and talk and talk about, but it doesn’t necessarily change the outcome. I don’t think this would have been possible if we had taken months and months with conversations with every constituent. At a certain point you do need to lead. And lead with the customer top of mind and make decisions on their behalf,” said Killar in an interview for the NewYork Times.

Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia’s chief executive since May, has been criticized by agents, theater owners and filmmakers in recent days.Credit…Allison V. Smith for The New York Times

There is no doubt, every fan out there is looking forward to new releases be it online or in the cinema. Yes, it is a collective experience, focusing rather on the experience part of the term but it is also an appreciation of human creativity, it is something that makes you laugh or cry, it is knowledge, it is part of our culture and it is definitely the most qualitative and fun activity one can do online. We do so many other things online, why should cinema lack back on this?

Innumerable kinds of problems have and will continue to emerge for the film industry, hence one way viewers can help is by subscribing to platforms or by renting movies to see online.

Are things changing?

Yes, they are. But, when haven’t they? Every generation believes they are experiencing something unique and insurmountable that no one in the past or the future will ever come to fully understand. And that is true to an extent but if everyone experiences something, albeit different in content or scale, does that not make us all equals in the face of human progress?

Those are the times in history when there is room for growth and change. They are the times that we have to grasp in their entirety, put them next to other big moments in history and decide what we are going to do with them. There is no way back to analogue film, back to when filmmaking was not as accessible a profession or back to when if you did not go to the cinema to watch a film when it came out, then it was very unlikely you would ever have the opportunity to watch that film again. Being overwhelmed with all these possibilities that are unfolding in front us, we feel small and we feel weak. But if we sit back, take a breath and think about this: is looking back what we really should be doing?


References
  • IndieWire, Wes Anderson is shooting ‘The French Dispatch’ in France – exclusive. Available here.
  • Collider, Steven Spielberg’s West Side story moves back a full year. Available here. 
  • Wild About Movies, The Last Duel. Available here. 
  • Rolling Stone, Watch ‘Tenet’ online: Here’s how to stream the film On-Demand from home. Available here.
  • Cnet, 2020 and 2021 movies. Available here. 
  • The New York Times, WarnerMedia chief has become a villain to some in Hollywood. Available here.

 

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Mado Gianni
She was born in 1997 in Athens. She grew up in Belgium. She has studied Film Studies in the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She was Festival Director for St Andrews Film Festival for two consecutive years. She really likes writing and reading. She has written for both her school and university newspapers before she got involved with OffLine Post. She has also been part of many short film productions mainly as an editor. She speaks English and French.