Martin Scorsese slams review websites for ‘devaluing cinema’

Los Angeles: Veteran filmmaker Martin Scorsese has slammed review aggregator websites such as Rotten Tomatoes and CinemaScore for “devaluing cinema” and leading movies to be “instantly judged and dismissed”.

The 75-year-old director made the comments after receiving The Robert Osborne Award at TCM’s Annual Classsic Film Festival in Hollywood, presented to him by his frequent collaborator Leonardo DiCaprio.

“It can all be summed up in the word that’s being used now: content. All movie images are lumped together. You’ve got a picture, you’ve got a TV episode, a new trailer, you’ve got a how-to video on a coffee-maker, you’ve got a Super Bowl commercial, you’ve got ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, it’s all the same,” Scorsese said in his acceptance speech, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“If there’s no sense of value tied to a given movie, of course, it can be sampled in bits and pieces and just forgotten… The horrible idea they reinforce (is) that every picture, every image is there to be instantly judged and dismissed without giving audiences time to see it. Time to see it, maybe ruminate and maybe make a decision for themselves. So the great 20th-century art form, the American art form, is reduced to content,” he added.

The director, known for modern American classics such as “Taxi Driver”, “Raging Bull”, “The Aviator” and “The Departed”, said there are people who understand and appreciate cinema as a true art form.

“You know the difference between a YouTube video and the great American art form. You react against the devaluation of cinema and movies by showing up,” he added.

DiCaprio, who has collaborated with Scorsese on five films, said he realised the importance of cinema after working with the director.

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Dicaprio

“No one is more knowledgeable, more committed, or draws more inspiration from the film art form that I know of than Martin Scorsese. He gave me an immense appreciation for the greatness of cinema’s past. And not only memorable performances but also an appreciation for directorial achievements throughout the history of movie-making,” DiCaprio, 43, said.

“As a young actor standing beside him during the creative process of making a movie, I discovered that just like a painting, a sculpture, music or theatre, film was just as essential, relevant, as a matter of fact, the most integral art form of our time. In other words, I felt I could truly own the term artist by working alongside Martin Scorsese. There is almost no aspect of his life, creative or personal, where he doesn’t reference the history of movies,” he added.