We Have Seen the Enemy, and It Is Television
CINEMA hates television. In The Theory of the Novel, Georg Lukacs posits that there are true novels and fake novels—books labeled “a novel” that are really just narratives created to move mass units of recycled stereotypes and tired tropes. Visual depictions of small screens inside cinematic worlds in the 1970s and 1980s suggest cinema felt the same about television: that the “idiot box” is a fraudulent, socially corrosive form of visual storytelling—a cheap, fake version of cinema.
It is popular to claim that we are currently in a golden age of television, and that television is now every bit as artistic and daring as stories told on the big screen. The United States also elected a reality television actor to its highest office.
I just learned the lines for that day and did them the way I was feeling. It wasn't that far off. I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was. It was a pretty natural performance. ... a good exhibition of somebody literally falling apart in front of you. I was totally insecure with about 10 grams a day in me. I was stoned out of my mind from beginning to end.
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)
Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
When a band or a person becomes an idol, it can have to do with the success that that person manifests, not the quality of work he produces. You don't become a fanatic because somebody’s work is good, you become a fanatic to be touched vicariously by their glamour and fame.
Technology is us. There is no separation. It’s a pure expression of human creative will. It doesn’t exist anywhere else in the universe. I’m rather sure of that.
Although Orwell invented the concept of the telescreen, he had no idea of its power. He knew television was the new thing, but he underestimated its power. In his mind telescreens were kind of like gigantic radios with pictures. When we put them on the set—and some were 20ft high—the effect they had on people just blew everything else away. Nobody looked at the posters or listened to the radio, the telescreen just dominated everything.
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Brazil came specifically from the time, from the approaching of 1984. It was looming. In fact, the original title of Brazil was 1984 ½. Fellini was one of my great gods and it was 1984, so let’s put them together. Unfortunately, that bastard Michael Radford did a version of 1984 and he called it 1984, so I was blown.