Not long ago, I served on the jury for the prestigious Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Korea. At one of the press conferences there, French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier (director of such justly acclaimed flicks as ‘Round Midnight and Coup de Torchon) said a couple things that echo a mantra I’ve been repeating for years. Tavernier said the economic blacklist does indeed exist in film and it’s infinitely more insidious and damaging than any political blacklist. The economic blacklist is harder to prove and virtually impossible to fight. The fact that this idea was being purported by a respected and honored French filmmaker and not a broken-down low budget film-maker, best known for head-crushings and hot lesbian action doesn’t seem to have garnered the theory any more media attention.
On the contrary, the pages of The New York Times on July 30 were full of bizarre stories seemingly intended to reinforce the status quo and maintain the economic blacklist that cripples independent art and commerce. In an editorial piece on the “New Economy”, Tim Race puts forth the argument that A.I., Steven Spielberg’s latest expulsion of saccharine drivel, tanked at the box office because Americans have grown wary of technology. Nowhere does he suggest that perhaps Americans have simply grown wary of boring, horseshit movies that ramble on and on as if the editor had been tied up, beaten, ass-raped, and stuffed into a broom closet while Spielberg indulged in two-and-a-half hours worth of self-pleasure in front of the Avid.
Here is cultural fascism in action. Race’s “theory” is basically that back in ’99, The Matrix became a big hit and the dot-com industry was at the crest of its wave. Today, technology stocks have become about as desirable as a syphilitic groin lump, so it’s no surprise that the Roboboy of A.I. is box office poison. Of course, for this theory to hold even a drop of water, you’d have to ignore the fact that The Matrix starred androgynous Queer World icon Keanu Reeves instead of spooky pseudo-child Haley Joel Osment, the fact that The Matrix was about an hour shorter than A.I., and the fact that, if nothing else, at least there were guns in The Matrix, thus guaranteeing the Trenchcoat Mafia audience. This is like saying Kevin Costner’s movie For Love Of The Game failed because Americans are sick of baseball (and this is obviously not true, judging by the success of Troma’s recent DVD release of the softball epic Squeeze Play).
Get the whole story in part two of ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE INVADES THE NY TIMES>>>
Posted on August 4, 2001 in Features by Lloyd Kaufman
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE INVADES THE NY TIMES (part 2)
- “MATRIX” OVERLOAD NEXT YEAR
- BLACKLIST COMES TO LIGHT AT THE ACADEMY
- MATRIX RELOADS IMAX STYLE
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