A Combination of Oreintal Wisdom and Occidental Knowledge
Tavoos Quarterly,No. 10, Winter 2001
What course will cinema take in the newly arrived twenty-first century? This question involves at once technological, ontological and constructional aspects. It is a question about the films themselves, their technical development, the ways in which they are shown, and even such things as movie theater buildings, projection screens and the viewers’ opinions on the reality of images. The present article, however, delves into the characteristics of high-quality twenty-first century cinema, the emerging new spiritual horizons, and the dominant stylistic trends of intellectual cinema across the world. I am not at all concerned with commercial films filled with fanciful hallucinatory special effects; although today’s fantastic adventures and juvenile sagas may well represent the technological reality of tomorrow’s ordinary life. Nevertheless, even in this perspective, cinema still expresses only the surface of the capricious events of the human play. This article, on the other hand, is concerned with the evolutionary process that has defined and heightened the standards of profound, progressive art; the unique creative wisdom that has shaped the life of the public at large.
I confess that for me, the future is not what “will come into being,” but is to some extent, the lives that “we will create,” that “we will make.” Therefore, speculating about twenty-first century cinema is a slightly mischievous effort on our part to have it evolve as closely as possible to our prediction. This in itself is the energy to play and a creative force, and not just a remote contemplation separate from action and separate from us, because it is happening. But, for sycophantic, dogmatic, one-dimensional minds, cinema of the future will inexorably be the continuation of everything that the mercantilist and monopolistic world of cinema has established through sex, violence, fiction, and eye-catching technology. That science-fiction, gangster, horror, or melodramatic movie genres prosper in the future is not important. At this point, thinking about twenty-first century cinema is a disciplined intellectual process, with or without imagination. This is indispensable in any tentative quest for a model of progress in the domain of scientific and theoretical discovery, plus or minus the thinker’s personal taste. This taste comprises aesthetic views, attitude “in the face of time” and “within time,” and the reaction to existence here and now.
Let us imagine the different methods embracing a retrospective of a cinema of the future, a cinema at the turn of a century, a millennium.
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To each of us, twenty-first century cinema has a particular ring. Our expectations of the context of future cinema will bring about a particular interpretation and a particular perspective. Some, following their biases or tastes, and in the wake of such popular , believe future cinema to be one of image films based on the most extravagant computer-made special effects. Some go as far as predicting its death, others look forward to an ideal, pure, reflective cinema, and some predict the continuation of all genres of cinema. The present article, however, bases its vision of the future on the aesthetic processes that have evolved step by step, the developments achieved in the pictorial arts, and the effects of the technological boom on modern art, particularly cinema. This article believes in the human ideal of intellectual and aesthetic change for the better. It perceives the events of modern cinema as indications of it leaving behind the stage of hallucinatory thrillers. It believes that the main characteristic of tomorrow’s proper cinema will be the elimination of its ugly and deceptive big business side based on sex, violence, illusion, irrationality, superficial emotionalism, and fictional adventure. It therefore considers twenty-first century cinema the outcome and the continuation of a vision and an experience begun in the past century, and even earlier.