At the 1982 Film Festival in Cannes, Wim Wenders filmed a series of directors, including Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Michelangelo Antonioni, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Steven Spielberg, talking about the future of cinema. Each sat in room 666 at the Hotel Martinez, alone, in front of a camera, and answered the question, “Is cinema a language about to get lost, an art form about to die?”
Filmed over thirty years ago, the concern at the time was that the new kid on the block, home video, was bringing profound changes to the film business and might just be the end of cinema. Today, with the emergence of a hit-driven studio system and a decrease in the number of theatrical releases occurring at the same time as inexpensive cameras and easily accessible editing software, digital distribution online, global connectivity, smart mobile devices and high resolution streaming, Wender’s question remains front and center in filmmakers’ minds.
The 44-minute [16mm] film features thoughts on cinema from an impressive roster of filmmakers … In an unsettling turn of events, Fassbinder would die of a drug overdose mere weeks after these interviews were shot … Highlights from the film include Herzog taking off his shoes before answering Wenders’ written question …,Fassbinder discussing the “very individual” films being made at the time which differ from “the films that are no different from television” (an intriguing comment given that Fassbinder’s 1980 epic “Berlin Alexanderplatz” was made for TV), and Spielberg describing himself as one of the “last optimists” for the future of moviemaking. (Beth Hanna, Indiewire, June 12, 2013)