Finally got around to reading this little rant from director Steven Soderbergh on the declining state of cinema as opposed to mere movies. You’ll have to read his (fairly long) essay, but the gist of it is that cinema, as an art form, is simply a movie with purpose. “Cinema is a specificity of vision,” says he, and you don’t get that from much of the profits-driven dreck that floods theaters nowadays. This was actually my favorite part of the essay, because he points out that part of the human condition is a desire, nay, longing for meaning, for a story to “make sense out of all this chaos.” Thus, says Steven, we have art like cinema. When an artist (in this case a director) does his or her craft well,
“you can almost achieve that thing that’s impossible which is entering the consciousness of another human being—literally seeing the world the way they see it. Then, if you have a really good piece of art and a really good artist, you are altered in some way, and so the experience is transformative and in the minute you’re experiencing that piece of art, you’re not alone.”
And this is why I come back to movies again and again, and why I feel compelled to write about the experience now and again. It’s powerful stuff. Anyway, take a moment to read the essay.