During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, ... See full summary »

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During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, into the same hotel room to answer in solitude the same question about the future of cinema, while they were filmed with a 16mm camera and recorded with a Nagra sound recorder. In social sciences the goal of standardization is that each person is exposed to the same question experience, and that the recording setting of answers is the same, too, so that any differences in the answers can be correctly interpreted as reflecting differences between persons rather than differences in the process that produced the answer. The wide sampling frame in "Room 666" included European 'auteurs' and Hollywood directors, narrative and experimental filmmakers, male and female professional film directors that presented their films or were simply present at the 35th Cannes Festival in May 1982. The directors came from ... Written by Anonymous

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23 January 1985 (USA)  »

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Room 666  »

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Featured in Fassbinder in Hollywood (2002) See more »

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points of view on art
7 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wim Wenders was curious at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival about the future of cinema. At the time it was at the end, or just a change, in a time in film-making when it seemed like anything was possible. The 1970's saw New-Waves in America and Germany, plus some original talent from France (Akerman), Italy (Bertolucci and Wertmuller), and elsewhere, but by 1982 things seemed a little bleak, apparently. Commercialism was rising high, and Steven Spielberg's friend George Lucas was unintentionally leading the charge to a more Blockbuster-oriented cinema worldwide, relegating art to the 'art-houses'. So, Wenders brought in a bunch of filmmakers to talk, right to the camera, on their thoughts about the future in film, if there was one, what about TV, etc.

We get two extremes of thought and response, actually, between two icons of cinema for different reasons: Jean-Luc Godard and Steven Spielberg. While Godard keeps looking at the letter, giving one an odd impression (he's the first interview) that he's just reading from the text and going on in messages that, yeah, film is screwed but it still is different from TV, Spielberg is more optimistic but cautious in making sure to take into account the finance of film, the figures. In-between these two figures, one an obtuse intellectual and the other a classic showman, we get a variety of thoughts and takes, some more pessimistic then others. One of the best interviews comes from Werner Herzog, who decides he must take off his shoes and socks before the interview because of the depth of the question (he also turns off the TV in the room, which no one else does).

Sadly, we also see some of the decline right in the room. One of the titans of cinema from the 'New-Wave' period, Michelangelo Antonioni, thinks cinema can evolve but that it will probably die at some point because of new mediums like video (oh if he only knew). And another, Fassbinder, looks tired and bloated, giving a half-assed if interesting answer (he would die a couple of months later). Some others give a dour impression, like Paul Morrissey, but it's not altogether unhopeful words said. In fact what it amounts to, for Wenders, is a realistic assessment of cinema as it would progress in the 1980's and beyond: artists would have to be careful, or just be put into more constricting circumstances, as the medium expands and it changes the way people see movies.


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