Newsflash: movies are powerful

Posted on August 30, 2010 by Mike Riddell

Continuing from the last post, this statement on cinema from David Puttnam on the ethics of filmmaking stirred something deep within me. I believe passionately in the responsibility of filmmakers, and Puttnam puts something into words here that I think we could all pause to think about. Have a read and join in the discussion on this one…

“Far more than any other influence, more than school, more even than home, my attitudes, dreams, preconceptions, and pre-conditions for life had been irreversibly shaped five and a half thousand miles away in a place called Hollywood. I labour over all of this in order to explain exactly where my passion for cinema stems from, exactly why it hurts me that the movies so frequently sell themselves short; unable or unwilling to step up to the creative and ethical standards the audience is entitled to expect from them.

“The medium is too powerful and too important an influence on the way we live, the way we see ourselves, to be left solely to the tyranny of the box office or reduced to the sum of the lowest common denominator of public taste; this ‘public taste’ or appetite being conditioned by a diet capable only of producing mental and emotional malnutrition! Movies are powerful. Good or bad, they tinker around inside your brain. They steal up on you in the darkness of the cinema to form or confirm social attitudes. They can help to create a healthy, informed, concerned and inquisitive society or, in the alternative, a negative, apathetic, ignorant one – merely a short step away from nihilism.

“In short, cinema is propaganda. Benign or malign – social or antisocial, the factual nature of its responsibility cannot be avoided. To an almost alarming degree our political and emotional responses rest, for their health, in the quality and integrity of the present and future generation of film and television creators. Accepting this fact, there are only two personal madnesses that film-makers must guard against. One is the belief that they can do everything and the other is the belief that they can do nothing. The former is arrogant in the extreme. But the latter is plainly irresponsible and unacceptable.”

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One Comment

  1. Luke says:

    Hollywood ” has a thing about money and treats love like a toy” as my good friend from Samoa said of the Palangi

    September 14th, 2010 at 2:23 pm ()

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