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Peter Greenaway declares cinema dead

Peter Greenaway, maybe most famous for his film THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE, AND HER LOVER, in an interview with the Times called modern movies cynical and formulaic. He considers recent box-office juggernauts LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER cynical making a quick buck. He continued: In the early 1950s and 1960s the whole family would go to the cinema every week of the year. Now you're hard-pressed to find someone who goes once a year.

Im a Greenaway fan. He talked in the interview about modern movies no longer stretching the imagination of audiences, and thats something Greenaway most certainly does. But it is rather odd for Greenaway of all people to make any claims. Just because movies arent as bizarre as his dont make them bad. Like it would be great to see, say, Ron Howard direct a movie that was wild and nasty -- it would be great to see Greenaway direct a movie that was just about people talking and figuring things out, and didnt contain every character getting naked every minute, loads of sex, loads of violence, naked kids sitting on swings urinating all over the place.

Greenaway, in certain ways, is right. Cinema isnt dead, but it is faltering. Only because it takes so much money to make a movie nowadays its very rare someone will take a risk.

But Greenaway is looking in the wrong place. LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER are mass-market movies created to make a billion dollars. Why doesnt he cite recent cinematic visions: MULHOLLAND DR., MEMENTO, THE MAN WHO WASNT THERE, WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY. Woody Allen, Hal Hartley, David Lynch, Todd Solondz, David Mamet, the Coen brothers, Robert Altman -- these people are still stretching our imaginations and for Greenaway to dismiss all movies being made today probably speaks of a certain bitterness. Or isolation. Or both.

-- Darwin Mayflower (

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