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Thursday Sep 17 2020
Web Desk

Martin Scorsese displeased about cinema being treated as 'comfort food'

Web Desk

Martin Scorsese warned that cinema is becoming "marginalized and devalued" as a "form of comfort food" during the coronavirus pandemic, as he addressed the Toronto film festival Tuesday.

Scorsese, no stranger to controversy after last year slamming popular superhero blockbusters as "not cinema", spoke as movie theaters remain closed in major US cities including Los Angeles and New York.

Toronto, North America's largest film festival, is taking place mainly online this year, along with a handful of drive-in and limited capacity indoor screenings.

In a short video introducing the event's annual career achievement gala, Scorsese praised the festival for going ahead at all.

"The fact that film festivals are continuing to happen -- improvising, adapting, making it all work somehow -- is very moving to me," said the Oscar-winning Goodfellas director.

"Because in the press and the popular culture, what's happening... it's becoming sadly common to see cinema marginalized and devalued, and in this situation categorized sort of as a form of comfort food."

Millions around the world have spent the past few months locked at home due to the pandemic, with many binge-watching television and films from their living rooms.

In a blistering New York Times op-ed last November, Scorsese said movie theaters are the place "where the filmmaker intended her or his picture to be seen," and warned superhero movies were crowding auteurs off the big screen.

"To celebrate its very existence is all the more important and necessary... this remarkable art form has always been and always will be much more than a diversion," added Scorsese in the video aired Tuesday.

"Cinema, film, movies, at its best, is a source of wonder and inspiration."