Martin Scorsese Criticizes Movie Franchises as ‘Artificial Creations,’ Contends They’re Not True Cinema

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Esteemed filmmaker Martin Scorsese remains resolute in his perspective that film franchises are devoid of the profound artistry inherent in cinema.

Martin Scorsese Criticizes Movie Franchises as 'Artificial Creations,' Contends They're Not True Cinema
Robert De Niro, from left, director Martin Scorsese, Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio pose for photographers at the photo call for the film ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Sunday, May 21, 2023.


In a recent discourse with GQ, the octogenarian “Killers of the Flower Moon” auteur expounded on his stance that “the artificially constructed content fails to encapsulate the essence of true cinema.”

Regarding what the interviewer, Zach Baron, characterized as “the deluge of franchise and graphic novel-based entertainment,” Scorsese elucidated, “The peril lies in its influence on our cultural milieu.”For it shall give birth to generations viewing cinema solely through that lens—such is their conception of the cinematic medium,” he said. It’s like allowing an artificial intelligence to direct a movie, Scorsese reflected reluctanly. And one must ponder: What significance shall these cinematic endeavors bestow upon us? Beyond a fleeting satisfaction, leading to its swift erasure from our consciousness—what deeper impact does it impart?”

This luminary, who has previously encountered backlash for likening Marvel productions to “amusement parks,” maintains that they are “adroitly crafted,” with actors striving to excel under challenging circumstances.

When contemplating his place in the realm of Hollywood, Scorsese, a resident of Manhattan, discerns an estrangement. He remarked, “I no longer perceive myself as an integral part of that domain.” Expanding on this sentiment, he lamented, “Most of my contemporaries have departed. The individuals who populate the current landscape are unfamiliar to me. It is an entirely novel terrain—a different industry. It has its merits, certainly. But my presence there is incongruous. Save for occasions spent with Leonardo DiCaprio.”

One pivotal juncture accentuating his disconnection from the cinematic mainstream was when studio executives proposed imbuing “The Departed” with sequel potential. Allegedly, Warner Bros. advocated for altering the destinies of the principal characters in the 2006 film.

Martin Scorsese Criticizes Movie Franchises as 'Artificial Creations,' Contends They're Not True Cinema
Star Lily Gladstone, left, and director Martin Scorsese appear in a behind-the-scenes image from the highly anticipated movie “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which was filmed in Oklahoma.


The creation of a franchise was their goal, according to Scorsese. It transcended the moral conundrum of life or death portrayed in the narrative.” He ruefully declared, “Such a milieu became incompatible with my creative ethos. I could no longer operate within those parameters.”

The solution to Hollywood’s overreliance on franchise-driven content, according to Scorsese, is to mount a resolute counteroffensive. He asserted, “The resurgence must originate at its grassroots, fueled by the passion of the filmmakers themselves.” For Scorsese, the essence of filmmaking resides in the creation of something profound.

He expounded, “It necessitates an excavation of one’s thoughts and sentiments from the depths of one’s psyche.” He queried, “What message should one convey at this juncture in life through the medium of cinema? A film should always articulate a perspective, else its creation is rendered futile.”

He lamented the industry’s waning interest in nurturing individual voices expressing their unique ideas and emotions within a substantial budget. He lamented, “The industry has confined such creative expressions to the realm of independent cinema.”

As for his own perseverance in the industry, Scorsese responded, “I shall persist until my physical faculties desert me. Therein lies my unwavering commitment.”

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