Goodbye to Language | Dogme Year Zero

Credit: The Criterion Collection

Tom Atkinson

When the Cannes Film Festival was officially cancelled in May of this year, you may recall that festival director Thierry Friemaux offered an alternative to the in-person event. In a poorly-timed livestream completed in the midst of high-profile protests against police brutality in the United States, the UK, and other nations, Friemaux announced the provisional line-up to give people an idea of what the festival would have been like. Some titles, like Steve McQueen’s Lovers Rock and Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round, have since been fully ingested into the cultural discourse and spat out the other side. Others, like Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, will have to wait until 2021. The most interesting part of this announcement, however, was that Friemaux only partly mentioned how it was to be structured. What was the competition going to be? What was the Un Certain Regard lineup? Who would have been in the running for the Palme D’Or?

The sprawl of this announcement stood in stark contrast to the tight narrative most Cannes years have when followed day by day, with critics itching for the masterpiece that is promised to them every time they head to the Croisette, and opining, as they did in in 2018, that the second week of films was miles better than the first. Friemaux’s lineup (divided instead into unhelpful categories such as The Faithful for directors returning to Cannes for a second or third time) was reflective of how we experienced cinema in 2020: decentralised, sans structures, and with narratives harder to manufacture in the absence of such structures.

In May, with Cannes cannes-celled, I undertook an experiment that, while predating Friemaux’s announcement, perhaps in its hypothesis foresaw the interesting gap left at the festival’s centre without structure and linear narrative. My experiment was this: what if I took a line-up from the past decade or so (after much deliberation, I settled on 2014) and watched every competition film from that year, while making sure I watch them in the order they would have been seen when the festival actually happened? To supplement this, I set myself the challenge of writing about each of the films, for which I even made a basic, but charming, web 0.5 website: just black, Times New Roman text on a white background. Nothing except the words. Regrettably, since the site’s existence was at the whim of a seedy HTML hosting site, the reviews are no longer available online. Really, the entire thing was an excuse to watch some interesting films and write something other than my dissertation. But it did also allow me to appreciate the formation of a Cannes narrative.

Indeed, two viewing experiences in this experiment stood out. The first was Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep, the (rightful) winner of the 2014 Palme D’Or, the prominence of which might suggest that the festival’s narrativity did its job. We are still talking about Ceylan today, but I doubt you could find someone who remembers Michel Hazanavicius’ awful The Search (all the more damning, since it was the first film he made after winning an Academy Award for The Artist). 

Ceylan’s film provided the inspiration for this undertaking in the first place, the simple reason being that I was a little frustrated by the contemporary reaction to the 196-minute film that year, especially from two writers at The A.V. Club. One of these writers was A.A. Dowd, who covered Cannes for the website that year. On Winter Sleep, he said: “There’s a powerful movie buried in the borderless sprawl of Winter Sleep. I just wish Ceylan had let it be a drama instead of inflating it into a monument to his expanding ambition.” The other was Mr Mike D’Angelo. Readers may know D’Angelo for his maddeningly anal 100-point rating system, or perhaps for his similarly anal writing style that I would describe charitably as CinemaSins with a thesaurus. The essence of his review of the film, which came out on the occasion of Winter Sleep’s theatrical release, was that it was too long, and perhaps the jury that year had awarded Ceylan for the dual reason of the film’s grandiose (thus, apparently, more artistically worthy) length and the fact that the director had attended – and been awarded at – Cannes several times but had never won the Palme. 

I disagreed with both critics, finding Winter Sleep to be a surprisingly entertaining film. In my review at the time, I gently suggested that the initial reaction had “ignored the wealth of compelling drama contained within [Winter Sleep], not to mention its daunting length being offset by an unsung goldmine of humour”. Drawing from Chekhov’s short story ‘The Wife’ and a subplot from Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, the film follows rural landlord, local newspaper columnist, and former actor Aydin, who lives in his mountainside complex with his wife Nihal and sister Necla. Aydin is a self-righteous, condescending arsehole who uses his own perceived virtuousness to patronise Nihal and his poverty-stricken tenants. The film’s extended conversation set-pieces find Aydin being the architect of his own narrative undoing, not so much ending in comeuppance as an absolute assuredness that he is not a local hero or a benevolent landlord, but an arrogant dick. 

It’s also funny as hell, and its drama is expertly rendered in precise, communicative editing by Ceylan. So why did critics like the aforementioned A.V. acolytes feel so flattened by the film and its supposedly overblown length? For D’Angelo, the jury is out, as always. In Dowd’s case, however, one might put it down to the festival setting. When one is operating on what would have been considerable jet lag for a Chicagoan in Southern France, 196 minutes of Turkish modulations on Chekhov on only the second or third day of the festival is perhaps not the easiest thing to digest. And, to his credit, Dowd was able to predict the film’s Palme win on the day of its premiere. Something about a career win for regular Cannes attendee Ceylan and the film’s thematic weight. So, consider my cap doffed.

But if Winter Sleep was a confirmation that The System Works, as far as Cannes is concerned, then Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language pointed to the ultimate fault in its structure. A 3D experimental film that only has a semblance of narrative, the film is broadly about a couple, played by two different sets of people, who are having an affair. One of the couple is killed by the other’s spouse. Godard’s dog, Roxy, appears at various points, seemingly outside of the narrative. But it is really about the slow encroachment of images to replace language, and the simultaneity of reality and unreality in the digital age. 

I knew at the time that I had watched something quite incredible, and having seen Godard’s masterpiece In Praise of Love (2001) in the months since then, I can say he’s working at a level few other cinema artists are able to match. What other artist would be bold enough to attempt Godard’s 3D experiment in the film, where two separate sets of footage are projected on top of each other, but if the viewer covers one eye, the 3D glasses will only register one of the sets of footage?

Yet, Goodbye to Language was presented alongside films operating almost uniformly in a more narrative mode. Whether that’s in the brilliant classical style of Winter Sleep, the stylistic excesses of Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, or the greyscale Oscar bait of The Search, what Godard was doing in his film was more ambitious, more epochal, and more indescribable than anything else in competition. 

Having never attended a festival where world premieres are par for the course (the London Film Festival provides paltry satisfaction in this area), this cheeseboard approach fascinated me. But looking back on this experiment, which simultaneously feels like it took place yesterday and a lifetime ago, perhaps the most alien thing about it is that very structure. In any ordinary film year, compartmentalisation is the order of the day, even more so than it was, say, two decades ago, when summer blockbusters and the awards season were clearly delineated, and everything was measured in box office metrics. Film festivals provided the art, multiplexes provided the trash. Such things are true of today too, but add to that the endless stream of listicle “content”, the social media bubbles of different film communities (vulgar auteurists, for example), the new spaces opened up by the internet for digital filmmaking and home movies that match up to avant-garde legends of days past, and the whole world seems like a Hegelian series of boxes on a spreadsheet.

What the pandemic did was to strip away that structure. The coitus interruptus of staggered, cancelled, modified, or altogether non-existent theatrical releases, the film festivals that weren’t, and the absence of key critical arbiters like Film Comment has made this year somewhat shapeless, much as awards bloggers might try to convince us otherwise. Films belonged to nobody and nowhere, and in no particular order. Perhaps my undertaking was based on a desire to achieve some normalcy, some stability, while the rest of the world – in cinema and beyond – seemed to be tectonically shifting. If one thing has changed since then, it’s that I’ve embraced the chaos a bit more. This month alone, I’m digesting the rest of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s filmography for an essay, whilst also making my way through the films of Alan Clarke; Josef von Sternberg; Joanna Hogg; and a whole load of new releases I need to catch up on before the year draws to a close. To quote Paul Simon (whose music, incidentally, I have finally begun to appreciate this year after about half a decade of putting off listening to Graceland), “Who am I to go against the wind?”

Ultra Dogme and Cinema Year Zero both run entirely on enthusiasm and patronage from readers like you! If you’d like to support us in our efforts to speak up about great art, please consider a pledge on either of our Patreon Pages: ULTRA DOGME / CINEMA YEAR ZERO.

Cinema Year Zero is volunteer run. Our goal is to pay writers a fair fee for their work. So if you like what you find at Cinema Year Zero, please consider subscribing to our Patreon!

Tenet | Dogme Year Zero

Credit: Tom Cruise

Kirsty Asher

Watching Tenet (2020) in the cinema during the late summer window between UK lockdowns was probably the most basic film-related activity I did this year. Yet in a way it also felt, perversely, like the definitive cinema experience of 2020. A small collection of people in Islington’s Everyman Screen on the Green, humid behind mandatory masks, desperately trying to convince themselves they’re having a good time is a pretty standard summary of what we’ve come to expect from this year.

Framing Tenet as the definitive cinematic experience of 2020 doesn’t necessarily mean it exists as a prime example of prestige or good filmmaking. Rather, in a summer of box office cancellations, the decision to go ahead with a cinematic release became an inadvertent parable for the fragility of profit-driven industries, and by extension exposed the fallibility of the blockbuster cinematic experience. If it hadn’t been for the sharp twist of fate that the pandemic now represents, Nolan’s decision to use blue-chip art as a plot device in this film might just have evaded any close scrutiny beyond the interest of art journalists and bloggers, if it weren’t for the way in which the commodification of cinema was flung into sharp relief by the unprecedented effects of the pandemic.

In his work Grundrisse (1939), Marx’s view on art as a product in consumerism is that “The need which consumption feels for the object is created by the perception of it.” The supposed need for the consumption of blockbuster entertainment is predicated on the billions of dollars it brings to the film industry. As such, the existence of big-budget cinema hinges on its financial success. The popularity of blockbusters also exists within a feedback loop, or as Marx describes it, “Production…not only creates an object for the subject, but also a subject for the object.” This is the logic behind the recent Disney live-action remakes: if the people want to see it and good money can be made, that is reason enough to remake every popular Disney film, regardless of whether they are ‘good’. The continued production of blockbusters is prioritised above other content through their streamlined ability to turn a profit. In that sense, box office entertainment has built up a reputation for being almost completely infallible. Sure, there are outliers, a great example being Tom Hooper’s Cats (2019), which was not only critically obliterated by audiences and journalists alike, but also reportedly cost Universal Pictures $114 million and failed to break even. However, that exists as an outlier by being so irredeemably bad it breaks the crucible of what the public will tolerate in their role as consumers during theatrical release. If that power is suddenly and dramatically shattered by a public health crisis, then what is to become of the need for consumption of big-budget movies in a cinema? 

Blue chip art is art that is deemed “reliably profitable, and expected to hold or increase its economic value, regardless of the general economic ups and downs.” The phrase has its origins in financial jargon, with ‘blue chip stocks’ being shares in companies which are highly respected and reliable. In Tenet, blue chip art is used as a form of blackmail by the main antagonist, Russian oligarch Andrei Sator (Kenneth Branagh) against his estranged wife Kat (Elizabeth Debickie), an art appraiser who unwittingly authenticated a fake Goya painting owned by her lover at the time. Kat then sold it to Sator at auction for $9 million. Having discovered Kat’s affair and accidental complicity in this scam, Sator decided to keep the painting as a kind of Damoclesian threat over Kat’s head, storing it in a free port amongst other priceless artworks at Oslo Airport. This leads Protagonist (John David Washington) and his handler Neil (Robert Pattinson) to embark on a mission to steal said painting. The tension involving the threat to Kat’s welfare and a storage facility full to the rafters with precious artwork seem to exist as little more than bloated plot devices, embellishments to introduce a novel action sequence (fight scenes, but in reverse!) which culminates in a Boeing 747 crashing into said storage facility. Just as pieces of blue chip art are valued as commodified trinkets to boost the wealth of those who collect them, that same art now serves as a stomping ground for Nolan’s self-perceived storytelling prowess. 

Blue chip art is rendered into existence by blue chip artists, i.e. masters of their craft whose work has consistently fetched high sales and retains value through recognisable technique, talent and cultural contribution. It wouldn’t be unreasonable therefore to suggest that historically Christopher Nolan’s reputation for creating cerebral cinema which produces iconic performances off the back of grandiose budgets would label him a blue chip artist in the film industry. Based on this reputation, the film was expected to bring in a reliable profit. In December 2019 IGN predicted that Tenet would take in $274.3 million at the domestic box office. 

By June 2020 however, it had become clear that the pandemic would successfully eviscerate summer blockbuster season. That same month Nolan sent a recorded message to CineEurope 2020, the international cinema exhibitors convention, (relayed in the press by Deadline) where he urged people to see Tenet for the first time in a cinema, as had always been the intention: 

This is a film whose image and sound really needs to be enjoyed in your theaters on the big screen…We’ve made big films in the past, but this is a film whose global reach and level of action is beyond anything we’ve ever attempted before. 

The passion behind this plea belies the unavoidable economic factors which also contextualised his urgency for a theatrical release. The film’s budget was $205 million, his most expensive original project to date. Nolan also stood to receive 20% of first dollar gross for Tenet, meaning that percentage of box office revenue goes to him in the immediacy of the film’s release, as opposed to it going to him when, and if, the film eventually turned a profit. The pandemic massively weakened that likelihood. This makes the moment when the Protagonist (a hapless John David Washington) tells the art appraiser Kat (Elizabeth Debickie) that “people who’ve amassed fortunes like your husband generally are not OK with being cheated out of any of it,” suddenly feel like a tragicomic reference to Nolan’s predicament. 

That desire to mop up profits wherever possible shifts into desperation when it trickles down into the comportment of the media circus: big-budget cinema is precious, and you must risk the plague to save it!  Mark Daniell of the Toronto Sun described Tenet as “the cinematic equivalent of a Rubik’s Cube”. IndieWire told us we must “believe the hype” because the international box office had hit $53 million, and the article ended with reassurance that the response is good and therefore other theatrical releases can follow. You could almost taste the panic. On the subject of modern cultural criticism, Christian Lorentzen in his piece Like this or Die for Harpers magazine asserts that “Editors and critics belong to a profession with a duty of skepticism. Instead, we find a class of journalists drunk on the gush.” In the rush to extol the virtues of Tenet’s cinematic release, any reason for a collective effort to scrutinise Tenet meaningfully fell by the wayside and instead became a collective effort to herd people into cinemas to watch it and boost its earnings.

These media murmurations aren’t so far removed from the robust attempts at lockdown propaganda from the British government and establishment media this year. Clap for the NHS; Eat Out to Help Out; listen to Vera Lynn until your ears bleed; bellow praise at the centenarian perambulating his garden to raise money for a tax-funded institution. Go to the cinema to make sure this naked emperor of a film gets the money it deserves. Tenet even had its very own Captain Tom embarking on a one-man mission to save the summer blockbuster. 

What links these events is the concern with profit and the exchange of capital at the expense of other factors such as welfare, public health, and latterly, art. The panic surrounding Tenet’s box office returns wasn’t borne of a feeling that good art was going to waste, but that the enormous production and marketing budget was. In a similar fashion, Sator wasn’t angry that he paid $9 million for a crap painting; he was angry that he’d been duped into paying that sum for a work that wasn’t Goya’s. In a socio-economic system where commodification is king, the value of art for the sake of its artistic merit falls by the wayside, and when a public health crisis skews the need for a specific mode of art consumption, a film like Tenet represents little more than a flaming Boeing 747 careening into a warehouse full of art. 

At the time of writing, Warner Brothers has recently made its steroidal announcement that it will simultaneously release its entire 2021 slate on HBO Max as well as in cinemas. Nolan is apparently very pissed off about this. Regardless of his opinion, the well-oiled machines of marketing and distribution are using whatever vehicle necessary to re-establish high profit margins, regardless of artistic merit. In the spirit of this, I leave the reader with a quote from radical theorist Mark Fisher: “Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labor is ours, and the zombies it makes are us.”

Ultra Dogme and Cinema Year Zero both run entirely on enthusiasm and patronage from readers like you! If you’d like to support us in our efforts to speak up about great art, please consider a pledge on either of our Patreon Pages: ULTRA DOGME / CINEMA YEAR ZERO.

Cinema Year Zero is volunteer run. Our goal is to pay writers a fair fee for their work. So if you like what you find at Cinema Year Zero, please consider subscribing to our Patreon!

Uppercase Print | Dogme Year Zero

Credit: microFilm

Ben Flanagan

Picture this: It’s February 22 at the Berlin Film Festival and I’ve just sat, napped, counted each tile on the ceiling through Radu Jude’s Uppercase Print. It’s film as Brechtian theatre, about a 1981 incident in Botoşani, Romania, wherein schoolboy Mugur Călinescu wrote socialist messages in chalk represented as a tapestry of verbatim line-readings on a sparse set, flatly lit and acted to present the different institutions at play. The facts might be all there, but there is little formal originality. In snoozeworthy detail, Jude captures small acts towards the irrevocable movement of history. I’m bored out of my skull, and in less than a month I, along with most of the world, will be locked down at home, the cinema a memory that matters to a relative few. 

That day hadn’t been all bad. In the morning, Alexandre Rockwell’s Sweet Thing had been perfectly charming if tucked away in the kid-centred ‘Generations’ strand, while I dashed around the city to catch King Vidor’s Street Scene and Dušan Makavejev’s WR: Mysteries of the Organism – both masterpieces. Perhaps I was worn out by the time it came for Jude. Perhaps I had the ‘rona. Late February seems like the end of days, and yet we gallivanted. But then, when did days end? Although Covid-19 was very much in the minds and mouths of those wandering Berlin in February, what with Jia Zhangke’s seemingly miraculous appearance at the festival from an otherwise completely shut-down China to present his documentary Swimming Out Until the Sea Turns Blue, precious few masks were visible around the festival. I recall laughing, in fact, at a couple donning black leather masks at every screening. How Berlin, I thought; couldn’t be me.  

Before ‘these uncertain times’, it was commonplace, if unspoken, that for those who are inclined to live in the dark, the film festival presents an alternative to the gap year. This is aided by critics workshops and other talent camps, with Twitter as a sort of mingling event that is sadly impossible to duck out of. And if you’re bored by beer pong then it’s healthier to blow your savings at DokuFest than in Bali. Both are lifestyle choices reaching toward an intangible future state. This is how I met Max Proctor, the venerable editor of Ultra Dogme, in the queue for Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always. I loved it, he preferred First Cow. I am a sucker for sensation, and Hittman’s 16mm film blown up huge on that screen, Cinemaxx8, was irresistible. A day earlier, 200 or so had stormed out of the same screen when, in Abel Ferrara’s Siberia, Willem Dafoe converses Golem-like with Willem Dafoe, howling at the moon and saying ‘Sounds like a woman screaming.’ Buzz abounded when the auditorium filled that we were on for a stinker following a negative Letterboxd review by Alex ‘press embargoes are a breach of my human rights’ Billington the previous day. Regardless, Siberia will survive long after pond-life influencers like Billington have been consigned to the annals of the Wayback Machine. 

I saw Hillary Clinton in the flesh, or in the scales if you are so inclined, at a press conference for her 252 minute documentary Hillary, which is about twice the length of Tsai Ming-Liang’s Stray Dogs and which was incidentally given the same star rating by Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw. Tsai ’lacks generosity’, and Bradshaw has fully settled into old fart mode as evidenced by the presence of his collected reviews on Waterstones’ shelves. Regardless, liver-spotting him in the streets is likewise a moment of cinephile bingo for the British film festival-goer. He and Jonathan Romney, who were everywhere you turned, arm in arm and muttering to each other, even more likely to be supping on adrenochrome than Hillary. What were they muttering? Incantations? Terrible puns to use in turgid prose? One cannot be sure of much other than to avoid their capsules at all costs. 

These are the sorts of places my mind went to during Uppercase Print. Clearly, I needed a pick-me-up, and felt certain to get one in the form of Visconti’s Ossessione, projected on 35mm, at Zeughauskino, the same site where a year earlier I bore witness to his The Damned, still one of the five or so best films I have ever seen. I met two esteemed colleagues beforehand, in a betting shop that sold pilsners for a euro, and was just hankering for a kebab when I realised Visconti was imminent and I was an hour away from Zeughauskino. I cut my losses and went for a kebab, angrily retiring to my hostel to try writing only to be distracted by other colleagues, other pilsners. I regretted my choices at the time, and I still do. I rue the day. But should I have treasured the spontaneous way we were able to make human contact, then?

The day I returned to London, exhausted, fed up of films and the chore of socialising that comes with them when you want to be a professional, I decided to rattle off a few screeners from my musty bedroom. That morning’s premiere at the Berlinale-Palast had been Days, and it had come to me via a private Youtube link. From the film’s opening shot, a good 5 minutes on the Lee Kang-Sheng visage, I knew that by watching at home I was losing out on the true meditative state of absorption that Tsai’s films trigger. I also knew I was watching the best film of the year. Days is Tsai Ming-Liang’s pean to silent comedy, in which Lee’s blank slate travels Keaton-like through the urban environment of Bangkok through a number of set-pieces (the acupuncture sequence, anybody?), which builds to a glorious moment of personal connection amidst the transience of 21st century urban anxiety. Tsai nods to the masters by including a recurring reference to Limelight, with a totemic ending that reminds us that cinema literally cannot die. Berlinale ended for me at home, watching a masterpiece in bed, and that is how the rest of 2020 went down. That is one memory of The Last Festival, a ‘Memory of a Free Festival’.

Ultra Dogme and Cinema Year Zero both run entirely on enthusiasm and patronage from readers like you! If you’d like to support us in our efforts to speak up about great art, please consider a pledge on either of our Patreon Pages: ULTRA DOGME / CINEMA YEAR ZERO.

Cinema Year Zero is volunteer run. Our goal is to pay writers a fair fee for their work. So if you like what you find at Cinema Year Zero, please consider subscribing to our Patreon!

#mydreampalace | Dogme Year Zero

Edward Hopper’s New York Movie

Cathy Brennan

On December 9th 2020, a newly created anonymous Twitter account called @ElectricRethink posted a thread about the treatment of workers at the The Electric Cinema in Birmingham. The thread alleged that at the beginning of the first lockdown in March, staff at the cinema were refused furlough pay and that managing director Tom Lawes had advised finding work elsewhere. One of the most striking tweets reads as follows: “No pay was received during notice period and some of the team were ineligible for universal credit. As a consequence the staff have suffered a major loss of income, a loss of independence and good health due to stress.”

The story was at this point a familiar one for anybody who follows news about the British film industry, or simply knows somebody who works at a cinema. From the beginning of lockdown in March, cinema workers have been voicing frustration with their employers. New Twitter accounts cropped up to serve as the public voice of disgruntled workers. The situation implicated the big chains like Cineworld and Odeon. However, what may have surprised some observers was that independent cinemas like Electric had let their employees down as well.

The takeaway from the situation is not that the pandemic had forced the hand of struggling cinemas. Rather, the pandemic had pushed conditions that were already exploitative to unbearable levels. Most disturbing were the allegations of a culture at Tyneside Cinema that normalised bullying and sexual abuse. Workers, past and present, felt compelled to divulge deeply traumatic memories online for the mere possibility of meaningful action being taken. The BBC reported at the beginning of December that Tyneside Cinema would be implementing 74 changes on the recommendation of an independent review. These changes are to be implemented over the next 18 months.

As workers across the country were speaking up, leading figures in the British film industry were more concerned about getting cinemas reopened again, rather than making sure the people working in them were treated fairly. In October, The Guardian interviewed film industry experts on the future of the exhibition sector. The emphasis was on how the sector could compete with the now-unstoppable rise of streaming, but there was no mention of staff, suggesting that any profitability would be achieved by keeping workers precariously employed. According to another Guardian article from the same month, the majority of Cineworld staff were on zero hours contracts.

Part of their argumentative strategy was to conjure up a romanticised ideal of visiting the cinema as an inherent social good where the masses can come together. It is quasi-religious fantasy which in the 21st century is provided at the expense of an underpaid, precariously employed workforce. As with many fantasies about living under capitalism, it can only convince by omitting the human misery that props it up.

In the UK, which in the last four decades has seen a shift toward service industry jobs, the situation with cinema workers is inevitably one about economic class. The stark dissonance in response to the crises that beset UK cinemas reveal the class position of those who speak. On one end, are the defiant voices of cinema workers across the UK. On the other side there are the comfortable complacents: CEOs, analysts, prominent critics, and publicists, who talk about the cinema as an endangered species under threat from streaming. It speaks to a certain attitude among individuals at the top of the industry, an attitude that prioritises institutions over people every time. 

What’s required is an exhibition sector that prioritises the well-being of its frontline workers, a feat which would require imagination, an end to zero-hours contracts, and almost-certainly a few well-placed pay cuts at the top. No doubt there are those in the sector who would mock such thinking as a fantasy equal to the myth of cinema as a magically unifying force. However, if the choice ends up being between the death of cinemas as a money-making venture, or a business-as-usual return that relies on exploiting a precariously employed workforce, then I would choose death.

Ultra Dogme and Cinema Year Zero both run entirely on enthusiasm and patronage from readers like you! If you’d like to support us in our efforts to speak up about great art, please consider a pledge on either of our Patreon Pages: ULTRA DOGME / CINEMA YEAR ZERO.

Cinema Year Zero is volunteer run. Our goal is to pay writers a fair fee for their work. So if you like what you find at Cinema Year Zero, please consider subscribing to our Patreon!