Lack of intensity in cinema today: Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi

Bedika K

Guwahati, Nov 1 (PTI) Renowned Polish filmmaker-writer-academician Krzysztof Zanussi believes movies have lost their intensity in an era where the audiences' attention is shrinking.

The director, who compared filmmaking to a self-inflicted torture in the service of art, said storytellers should not feel discouraged by the changes around them and focus on bringing a rich cinematic experience for their viewers. 'We were privileged to enjoy the dark room and to watch the film in theatres but now filmmakers are catering to an audience which has the mobile phone in their hands and this has brought down the intensity of the messages in the film. The human attention is less. It is the condition of watching that determines the film to be made,' he said during an interactive session on the second day of the Third Guwahati International Film Festival (GIFF) here.

Best known for acclaimed movies such as 'The Constant Factor', 'Inventory', 'Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease', 'The Supplement' and autobiographical drama 'At Full Gallop', Zanussi said films in the past were made for 'people of the higher rarefied strata of society' and it was their responsibility to filter the message to the common people.

'Now, the focus is more on the common people and this has not exactly benefitted the quality of films being made. We must fight this attempt to reduce films to the lowest common denominator,' he said.

'Let us not lose the creativity and intensity of film making. Films should, no doubt, be more accessible without compromising on the quality of the films but at the same time it should refrain from being snobbish,' he added.

The problem that filmmakers today face is 'not to make a film but to show it... finding the audience is an issue', he said.

'This is a universal problem but filmmakers should not be affected by how many people see the film but by how many people were influenced by it. The audience should also focus on the cinematic experience and how it enriches them,' Zanussi said.

Asked what was the best aspect about making films, the Polish filmmaker joked, 'Filmmaking is a torture but I am a masochist. It is similar to what a mountaineer experiences while climbing a mountain.

'Initially, there is a spark and an idea grows within and this part is beautiful. Then the panic sets in--how to situate the film, writing the story, directing, editing and then promoting it. I go through all this with intense suffering and when all this is done, my suffering starts again as I begin to plan again.' PTI DG BKBK