Il Maestro

02021-02-21 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Great essay about Federico Fellini and his movies.

[Essay] Il Maestro, By Martin Scorsese | Harper’s Magazine:

As recently as fifteen years ago, the term “content” was heard only when people were discussing the cinema on a serious level, and it was contrasted with and measured against “form.” Then, gradually, it was used more and more by the people who took over media companies, most of whom knew nothing about the history of the art form, or even cared enough to think that they should. “Content” became a business term for all moving images: a David Lean movie, a cat video, a Super Bowl commercial, a superhero sequel, a series episode.


On the other hand, it has created a situation in which everything is presented to the viewer on a level playing field, which sounds democratic but isn’t. If further viewing is “suggested” by algorithms based on what you’ve already seen, and the suggestions are based only on subject matter or genre, then what does that do to the art of cinema?

Curating isn’t undemocratic or “elitist,” a term that is now used so often that it’s become meaningless. It’s an act of generosity—you’re sharing what you love and what has inspired you.


  1. JaneParhamKatz

    For a stretch, would there be a content in instrumental music?

    • Abigail

      good question. The research seems to suggest it is possible. – Has to do with stage development.

      • ottmar

        Perhaps I don’t understand the question. It’s not that there is content in instrumental music – instrumental music is content. Everything is content these days. Everything is chewed up by algorithms and spit out as recommendations. Most recommendations I see are embarrassingly off, at least for my taste, whether in regards to music or to films. Apple hired humans for make recommendations for Apple Music and it clearly works better than relying on algorithms. My local video rental proprietor is better at recommending a film than Amazon and Netflix put together. :-)

        • JaneParhamKatz

          “instrumental music IS content” – yes, of course! This may not be exactly what you mean: but I suddenly jumped to a new level in my grasp of the piano music I am learning (Debussy). So as I play each phrase, I touch pure music, not just sounds that have some human interpretation. Now I feel I’m on sacred ground.

          Say, I enjoy the algorithmic recommendations on YouTube, i.e my search for horse racing led to unlimited gorgeous videos about horses that I would never have thought to look for.

          • ottmar

            Which is perhaps why it is upsetting that such sacred ground as music is viewed as merely content by so many?

            Sure, sometimes you can get lucky and get a good recommendation. :-)

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