Paul Greengrass believes the world needs the “mystic, healing power of cinema more than ever”.
The 65-year-old director was among a host of famous names who wrote an open letter asking the government to assist movie theatres that have been left struggling due to the coronavirus crisis and he felt it was important to get involved because films can help people in many ways.
He said: “In these troubled and bitterly divided times, we need the mystical, healing power of cinema more than ever.
“In darkness, watching that bright light illuminate the screen, we can explore collectively who we were, who we are and who, if we listen to our better angels, we might become in the future.”
Paul’s latest movie, ‘News of the World’, will be released on Netflix next month, and though it was originally planned as a theatrical release, he felt it was a “statement of faith” in the movie industry to still bring it out as planned.
He told the Sunday Times magazine: “In the end, if you believe in the future of movies, you’ve got to release some movies. That’s the point, isn’t it? This is a statement of faith that, you know, we are going to come through this and movies will be there. If we all just delay our films for ever? Well, that just makes the problem worse.”
The ‘Bourne Identity’ filmmaker thinks the movie industry is facing “two crises in one”, the impact of coronavirus, and also the popularity of streaming, but he doesn’t think they are too “troubling”.
He said: “Well, I’m a naturally optimistic person.
“But I’m not blind to issues in the movie business. It’s facing two crises in one. The first is Covid, which means nearly all cinemas are closed and productions severely impaired. But I’m confident that, by summer, films will be back as a going concern in cinemas.
“But, and this is the real issue, that’s only part of the crisis. The second is a change from the dominance of theatrical distribution to streaming. But that doesn’t trouble me. I know it troubles some people, yet, in any case, it’s not going to change anything because it’s driven by two things you can’t buck.
“First, technology, which makes global content a reality. Second, consumer choice. People want to watch their movies at the click of a button.
“That doesn’t trouble me because I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the theatrical experience. It’s going to be part of one offering; people will choose whether to see movies in theatres or to stream them. And that’s OK.”