The American director John Landis will be awarded the Pardo d’onore Manor on the Piazza Grande in Locarno this Friday evening. In advance, he takes a stance on his industry and its political environment.
John Landis is a prominent guest at this year’s Locarno Film Festival. He has made a name for himself as a director, screenwriter and actor. He is known for countless films, for example the road musical “The Blues Brothers” (1980). Less known, but no less important, is that Landis is behind the video clip for Michael Jackson’s «Thriller» (1983); In the wake of Landis’ horror film “An American Werewolf in London” (1981), Jackson Landis had the clip staged as a cinematic short.
In the run-up to the honorary leopard award, Landis said that cinema had “changed a lot” since the 1970s: “Believe it or not, The Blues Brothers is the last film to be produced in an old-style studio”, he told the media.
Up until the 1980s, a studio had several departments: one for the cloakroom, one for special effects, one for sound; Today anyone who wants to make a film has to create it from scratch, and the responsible persons have to be hired individually for each task. “The level of professionalism is very different from then,” says the director, “there are fewer films and the big studios are no longer employing authors.
“The cinema is not even 200 years old, it is completely new compared to writing, painting and sculpture. Since its inception, the cinema has been a community experience. ” But recently the new technologies have changed everything again, many people now watch films on their cell phones or their computers instead of in the cinema: “The fact that people watch films on their iPhones breaks my heart.”
He also has little interest in computer-generated images in films, another new technology. Such images are meanwhile being “overused”. As a result, the “feeling of wonder” that makes the cinema experience so special would no longer be created.
And: Landis refers to a resurgence of horror films that “don’t need a big budget”. The cinema has also developed further against the background of a changed socio-political context.
Landis lives mostly in England and therefore relates the changed socio-political context to Brexit: “Who the hell thought that was a good idea?” As an American citizen, he did not mince his words about the resigned President Trump, the “clown” of the hour.
There is “a lot of madness, there are people who do not recognize climate change as such, who do not believe in Covid-19”. There have always been people who think that way, but “the problem is that they now make up 30 percent of the population”. All of this «has an influence on films, but also on everything else». Hollywood “no longer exists”.