Today the premiere of the movie Relatos Salvajes, by the argentinian director Damiàn Szifron is being held in Cannes. Here I am. The invitation I asked for it requires an evening dresses for women and the tuxedo for men, otherwise you won't be able to enter. As a matter of fact, I don't have a tuxedo. I tell you, I' ve never owned one in my life.
Fine, I'll find someone who rents it.
There, I become like a penguin, ready for this gala.
Walking I literally bump into Abel Ferrara, who keeps going straight ahead, bowed with his hump and accompained by a young, blonde valchiria with high heels and an evening dress. He does not even bother himself to curse me. Seing the two of them gives me a strange feeling, like a fantasy story, Game of Thrones.
Well, the show is going to begin, so I walk faster.
After a little queue for the access I walk on the red carpet, where everyone is having their dose of selfies. There's a moltitude of people, and when I get into the theatre I see why. The Grand Theatre Lumiére boasts 2300 very confortable seats. And all of them are sold out, just as every premiere during the festival. The 30 metre wide screen shows images of the carpet out there, on wich all the actors of the movie are walking. A sudden noise. There is the director, followed by Almodovar, who I find out to be the producer.
Just a small talk and then the screening begins.
There is a big talk nowadays about the “moltiplication of screens”; about how contents are expanding on all sorts of platforms: mobiles, tablets, computers, TVs and about how this is changing the cinema industry, questioning the distribution process, and redefining a future that no one is able to forecast. All of it is true, but what happens in the Grand Theatre Lumiére is unique.
The screening begins and silence spreads all across the theatre.
I declare it: the movie is a nice, well-wrote, funny, snarky, surprising comedy. It is well played by a great group of actors and well directed. What more can one ask. As the story goes on, the experience becomes more and more intense. There's a reason for that.
2300 people are sharing this experience. The theatre, that we call movie venue, is by all means a place to share experiences. It is not just about the images on the screen, it is not just a private experience between oneself and an image. It is mainly about audience and a clear, huge, perceptible emotional involvement (fear, laught, emotions, ...it makes no difference) skilfully created, when the film works. The wider is the audience, the stronger is the involvement.
That is why Cannes is a sacred place for cinema just as La Scala is for theatre. It is not for what happens on the screen or on the stage, but for the reaction in the theatre. The audience in Cannes is passionate, cheers, laughs, responds to the film, like a whole body.
Is the multiplication of screens really going to wipe all this out? I can't say. Maybe. The use of several screens is mainly a lone activity. The risk of loosing the sense of a collective emotion is real. I can't say that in my country theatre and cinema are going through good times. Audiences are smaller. In other countries trends are opposite, though, thanks to the digital means.
Cinema is dead, long life to cinema!