Publish date 03-06-2022
I start from a personal experience that I have lived in these months of tiring attempt to return to a less constrained life. I think, like many others, I was able to see how museums and theaters in many cases have reopened with a good audience, while this impression I have never experienced when entering a cinema.
The bugbear of contagion is not the motivation, but there is a deeper reason in this now evident disaffection with the cinema and I would like to try to outline a reflection on this.
Cinema has been a splendid technical invention that is now more than a hundred years old, which exploits the possibility of reproducing an industrial prototype, such as a film, in many copies, to project it at the same time in an enormous number of places.
A technological plus that soon gave birth to a thriving entertainment industry that, until a few decades ago, had few rivals and which, due to economy of scale, dominated traditional forms of entertainment that were (and remain) anchored to the uniqueness of vision like theater and opera.
But in recent decades, entertainment opportunities have proliferated (just think of too much / too much football on TV) and the cinema industry has reacted by increasing the number of cinemas (today in Italy there are more than 3,000 screens) and Italian films (if they produce more than 100 every year, can you and keep in mind more than 10?) to fill the screens.
But the industry today does not have the means to make so many products, if not with constantly reduced budgets: an Italian film is made on average with two million euros, a very poor share to create spectacular, big-screen products. In addition to the inability of our authors to think of far-reaching stories that are often limited to “two bedrooms and a kitchen”. The counter-proof exists: the public still rewards spectacular films which, in order to fully enjoy them, need cinemas like Spiderman or our local Freaks Out.
Otherwise it relies on the platforms that we all know by now, capable of offering and now also producing many offers on their own (author's like the latest films by Paolo Sorrentino and Joel Coen but also impressive series such as Game of Thrones) at affordable prices with the convenience and exclusivity of home vision.
Technical reproducibility has turned against cinemas, the uniqueness of the experience still rewards theaters. Perhaps it is necessary to rethink the title of my rubricetta that I have had the pleasure of keeping for years.
NP February 2022