Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mike Figgis, Director, on the Future of Film

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Mike Figgis, Director, on the Future of Film

Article excerpt

"Digital equipment that allows you to shoot a film and edit it on your own computer to professional standard is the biggest innovation since the beginning of the history of cinema. The medium becomes accessible to people who cannot raise the funds usually associated with making a film.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I find myself less and less interested in the idea of "world domination" as an artist and more interested in just working. This new technology allows me to express myself as a photographer, or as a film-maker, or as a musician. Occasionally this work comes out and sees an audience, but often it just forms part of my "notebook".

Film-making is now more like writing a novel or like painting than it ever has been. And I'm surprised at how few people have risen to that challenge so far. Film remains a very mainstream form of expression. Most people are still very interested in the basic story cliche--plus a few somewhat precious video artists who work in quite a limited way on gallery-type installations.

Narrative films aren't necessarily inferior, but the wider your spectrum of art, the more you realise that the story is not the only thing happening on the screen. It is maybe only a device, in the same way as a great painter will paint a portrait as a device with which to articulate lots of other ideas about light, or politics, or the painter's own philosophy. Most of the films you see don't reflect any of that; they merely reflect the story. Or they reflect the deadening committee system of mainstream Hollywood film-making, where not only have too many cooks spoiled the broth, they've turned it into a bland piece of pap.

That's why Hollywood is in decline. The problem in America is that young independent film-makers who win the audience award at Sundance have already got their eye on the big bucks. We also have to ask ourselves: are we any longer that interested in the American story? …

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