Wednesday, 19 May 2010

3D or not 3D, I have a suggestion

Avatar director James Cameron said recently that 3D was the future of cinema and the technology would quickly become standard not only for the medium but all forms of broadcast entertainment too.
Taking the opposite view Francis Ford Coppola, director of the The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, is reported to have said, "I don't see why a movie is better in 3D. I personally do not want to watch a movie with glasses. It's tiresome."
I assume that Coppola would be of the same opinion even when advances in 3D make the wearing of glasses unnecessary. I would agree.
I enjoyed watching Avatar in 3D in the cinema but I can understand why the sales of the DVD in 2D have done well. It's a good film.
I don’t put 3D technology on a par with the coming of the talkies. The technology has been around since the 1950s and despite revivals over the years never managed to sweep away the 2D format. Once the novelty has passed perhaps 3D will be reserved for epics.
Cameron and before him Coppola are masters of popular cinema. But each is rooted in time catching the contemporary mood even when it’s nostalgic.
I doubt if either expect to have the longevity of cinema great Jean Renoir. I watched his La Grande Illusion in a cinema club last night. Its power hasn’t diminished although the movie starring Jean Gabin was made more than 70 years ago.
Set in the First World War, the film is suffused with a melancholy (as in the title) that reflects the director’s concern about the growing Nazi threat in Europe.
It would be too easy to say the movie is anti-war but rather in its humanity it can see the futility of war.
Ostensibly the film is about French prisoners of war and their desire to escape their German captors. But what plot there is sketchy. Renoir is much more interested in relationships as viewed through the prism of class, religion, loneliness, and desire.
If there is a modern film which looks as deeply into the human soul, I hope you’ll tell me.

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