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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

curated: Christopher Nolan hates Netflix

The reason why will shock you! </clickbait>

posted in:
talent buzz
  • Danielm80

    Can we require all the clickbait stories to be labeled as clickbait?

  • Bluejay

    And all books should be read in the same way: in hardcover with deckle edges (first edition only), while sitting on a hardback wooden chair to encourage posture, in a library reading room with natural light from west-facing skylights. Nothing else is acceptable!

    It’s notable that he appears to have no problem with television – also historically a feared movie-killer – or with video games or VR. He accepts they’re different media. Why so bothered about Netflix?

  • Danielm80

    I wouldn’t say I agree with him, but it does bug me that Okja—which is terrific—is playing at only one small theatre in New York. Okja is a giant pig and needs to be seen on a giant screen.

  • This isn’t really clickbait!

  • But a movie like *Okja* was *never* going to get a wide release in our current entertainment environment. This is true of many movies… and it’s partly because the films of directors like Nolan hog available screens. At least audiences do have access to them on Netflix.

  • LaSargenta

    Could be wrong, I know next to nothing about this industry, but, I suspect that Nolan doesn’t get a whole lot of say in the number of screens his distributors clog.

    Still I completely agree with you that he could be a door-opener if he said “Hey, let’s take this off 100 screens and put up Ojka, Huston We Have A Problem, A Cowgirl’s Story, adn To The Bone” (all random stories I see on Netflix that I think haven’t been in theaters)

  • He may not have a lot of input on the number of screens, but he certainly has the power to take a stand on the issue. And here he’s doing the opposite. We have to wonder whether he really understands all the issues involved.

  • clayjohanson

    Nolan hates Netflix because he is a cinema purist: He wants to shoot on film, not on digital; he eschews gimmicks such as 3D; he really avoids using CGI as much as possible, preferring to build props and sets and shoot everything in camera; and he writes and storyboards most of his own scripts with a specific vision in mind for each movie. He is a true artiste in this sense.

    Netflix is the antithesis of ALL of that. Netflix is a symptom of the “gotta have it right now on whatever screen I have” mentality that pervades so much of the world.

    Nolan is fighting at the front line in the war to keep the cinema the cinema. We should ALL be thanking him. He only releases one movie every two or three years — we shouldn’t blame him if there’s no room at the local cineplex for independent movies. We should blame the local cineplex for not setting aside a screen to be used ONLY for smaller release movies.

  • Bluejay

    “But what if there’s no movie theater in your neighborhood?”
    – Ava DuVernay

    I love seeing films in theaters. But at $15-20 a ticket in NYC, that easily adds up to $45-60 for a night out at the movies with my family – and that’s before adding in transportation and probably a restaurant. That means we only get out to the movies a handful of times a year.

    With our $14/mo Netflix subscription (streaming + DVDs), we get to catch up on movies and TV series we missed (or discover ones we’ve overlooked), and enjoy very worthy Netflix original content like The Incredible Jessica James, Dear White People, Luke Cage, etc. As many films as we want, in a darkened room, pausing the screen for bathroom breaks so we don’t miss a thing (and NO ONE can tell me it’s better to hold it in!), with no distraction from strangers’ cell phones or conversations.

    Netflix does cater to the “I want it now” mentality of modern viewers. But it still provides quality content that would hit my wallet so much harder if I had to see it all individually in theaters – which means I would have chosen NOT to see it all, and without Netflix I would probably have never seen them at all. And that’s supposed to be… better?

    I’m glad movie theaters exist, just as I’m glad Broadway exists. But if anyone were to criticize me for not seeing more live theater, I’d ask them to examine the place of financial privilege they may be speaking from.

  • Danielm80

    Nolan may be a “cinema purist,” but so is Martin Scorsese, who used 3D in Hugo, and I’m pretty sure that Wim Wenders, who used 3D spectacularly in Piña, would count, too.

    To be honest, I’m not sure what the definition of “cinema purist” is, but movies are a lot richer because of people like James Cameron, who’s pioneered the use of both CGI and 3D, and whether he’s a purist or the opposite, many filmmakers have benefited from the techniques he helped develop—including independent filmmakers with almost no budget, making movies on their personal computers.

    Movies, and the entertainment industry, are better when we can see a wide variety of filmmakers and a wide variety of techniques. Marvel has been very smart about saying: Some super-heroes need to be on gigantic screens, and some—like Jessica Jones and Daredevil—need to be on TV shows that emphasize dialogue and character moments.

    Netflix (along with other streaming services) gives us access to movies and TV shows we might never get to see otherwise. Some of them might not be financed even if every city had another hundred movie screens. I suspect that the philosophy is not “gotta have it now” but: Without a variety of choices, we might not get to have it at all.

  • Bluejay

    If early purists had their way, we’d all still be watching black-and-white silent movies – none of these silly newfangled gimmicks like “sound” and “color.” And get that Georges Méliès crackpot out of here!

    3D and CGI are tools that have their place alongside all the other tools of cinematic storytelling: sound, sets, costumes, score, props, practical effects, etc. Like all of these tools, they can be used well or poorly, judiciously or excessively. A good filmmaker doesn’t just stick to the old ways because “old is best,” but recognizes the value of the new, and uses any and all techniques as appropriate. People might be amazed at how much CGI is actually involved in scenes that they thought were entirely practical effects.


  • Netflix is the antithesis of ALL of that.

    It what way? None of them have anything to do with Netflix. Movies can be made old-school and still play on Netflix.

    Netflix is a symptom of the “gotta have it right now on whatever screen I have” mentality that pervades so much of the world.

    What is wrong with that? People shouldn’t want to see movies? Or they should only be allowed to see them in certain ways?

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