“How many streaming movies have marked you or changed your life? »

In thirty years of career, the recognized filmmaker who is today M. Night Shyamalan has climbed the ranks of the Hollywood arena more than once. Sacred wonderboy, at the turn of the 2000s, with the surprise success of Sixth Sense (1999), he had bitter setbacks (After Earth, 2013), then the resurrection within small horror genre productions, such as The Visit (2015), then Split (2017). Despite all these hazards, one thing has remained unscathed: an incomparable brilliance in the art of staging, which he handles as a gifted heir to Hitchcockian suspense stories. The Berlinale had the excellent idea, for its 72and edition, to entrust him with the presidency of the jury.

How did you approach this presidency?

It is, curiously, something that was familiar to me. When I’m at home, I regularly go down to my little projection room. Most of the time I watch movies on my own, either a classic or a foreign film that I’ve heard good things about. It’s my favorite activity, if only to continue learning or even to find inspiration. The festival could not have chosen someone more curious or hungry for films than me. Even if my schedule does not often leave me the opportunity. I had a free slot between filming the fourth season of Servant, my TV series, and that of my next movie, which starts on April 18th.

“I wanted the jury to give each work time for a full discussion, and a lot of film ideas came out of it”

I took many notes on the films seen here, in order to draw the best lesson from them. Because I remain an eternal student. There is a wealth of knowledge that springs from watching so many films: why does this process work? Why not such another? I wanted the jury to give each work time for a full discussion, and a lot of film ideas came out of it.

The pandemic has hit the film industry hard. How do you view the past two years?

I honestly don’t think anything has changed. When we get back to normal, people will appreciate going to the cinema more, like in the United States. There, when restaurants, concerts, sporting events reopened, everything was sold out. It’s up to us to tell great stories, and the public will come back, perhaps even more numerous.

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This cinema crisis is the conjunction of two events: on the one hand a pandemic, on the other the rise of streaming platforms. During these two years, online providers have spent billions of dollars on content and advertising, and shouted to the world: “Hey, now you can see what you want without commitment or buying a ticket!” At first I found this infinitely damaging. But, thinking about it, the closure of cinemas also showed us what an invaluable experience it was. There is no equivalent. On the one hand, we have this world without cinema, where everything is watched on a telephone. But how many films in streaming have marked you or changed your life? How many of them will you remember in ten years? And on the other, the one where we cherish the prospect of going out, of taking our friends, of giving all our attention and love to the images and characters we are looking at.

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