Is The Cinema the problem? Or is Cinema the problem? by Tolu Fosudo

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We were all alive when the revered director and filmmaker Martin Scorsese made the now famous ‘theme park’ comments about the Marvel movies (How good was Infinity war right? Right?). If you weren’t alive then how are you even reading this? Martin Scorsese then went on to make his much heralded debut on Netflix, The Irishman,  a sweeping epic that has no doubt been a huge hit and a flash of exemplary acting and storytelling from the old masters. What a movie! You probably say Pesci gave the most outstanding performance, I say Pacino. The Academy say both and they are well deserved nominations (Don’t worry the word in italics will come in useful before the end of this article).

Now, I know what I go to The Cinema for and it’s for Marvel movies and yes, I’m going to say it with my chest, Wedding Party (at least the first part). Don’t get me wrong, I’d just as much see a substantive documentary on the Nigerian civil war as I’d see Thanos brood and ask “all that for a drop of blood?” (lol). And frankly I’d see both at The Cinema, or anywhere for that matter. But here’s the thing, with half the hall on their phones, that randy couple behind me unzipping and fondling or whatever they’re doing, this one guy who apparently has to use the restroom every 15 minutes and the group of giggly girls down the aisle passing a comment every time a pregnant Rita Dominic in 76 did just about anything, it is nigh on impossible to delve into the immersive, spiritual world of Cinema Scorsese intends us to, the elements of which require a much finer process for its total appreciation.

There’s a silent reason many of the recent critically acclaimed movies have been produced outside of the attentions of The big crushing Modern Cinema machine, re: Parasite, Silence, The Lost Okoroshi? Ojuju? Confusion Na Wa?

So, Did Scorsese get it wrong? Is it Cinema that needs fixing or is it The Cinema that does?

I believe art was made to compete but not for attention. Can all these movies show at The Cinema as we know it today? Yes. Is there a better alternative, Yes? One thing I know, the audience is there, our collective attentions are held, tell us where to go! As God will have it (Yes, I’m Nigerian and this a legit phrase here), you know one place I don’t go to anymore? Theme parks. All the excitement I crave I can find at the malls (which is actually where The Cinemas are these days) and on my media device. In a way Senõr Scorsese, isn’t Netflix (you see, I said it will come in useful) a Theme park?

With so many attractive thumbnails flashing past your face, you want all but can’t even pick one. You anticipate and gather instructive reviews only to end up on some disappointing rides (Isoken was a 4/10, 5 at best). And then there are some you cannot wait to try for yourself (Is ‘A fall from Grace’ any good guys? Are we canceling Tyler or not? DECIDE!). And then the surprisingly surprisingly refreshing rides (‘6 underground’ anyone? Amen?).

By now you must have come to this conclusion, I know I have: The modern Cinema halls are theme parks, Netflix is a theme park, the entire 21st century cinema is one disappointing theme park (you’re mentally mentioning some great projects so we’ll meet in the middle and say around 80% of the 21st century cinema) and the real problem, the real problem Master Scorsese failed to point out is that we are not getting our time’s nor our potential’s worth as we waltz around these theme parks, searching, looking and praying for just one chance to dip into a rare gem.

NB: It’s Pacino. Pacino was the better actor in The Irishman and deserves the Oscar. Thank you for getting to the end just to find this out.

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