Despite the record-breaking box office takings this summer, the fashion recently among the cinestablishment has been to furrow their learned brows and predict the death of movies, or at least the death of good movies, or the death of movies in movie theatres. The HBO premiere of Steven Soderbergh‘s “Behind the Candelabra” led many to wonder why the film wasn’t getting a cinematic release, followed by Steven Spielberg revealing that his own “Lincoln” was almost made the same way. This very same year, David Fincher made a big TV series (“House of Cards,” which on top of everything wasn’t even on TV), and big-name directors like Danny Boyle are getting in on the act too.
Now, enter the French, who come armed with their own selection of projects straddling the TV-cinema line. Franco-German arts channel Arte has just announced a slate of new projects and purchases, buoyed by growing audience figures. Arte will be broadcasting “Top of the Lake,” which featured on our list of the best recent TV and was itself made by noted cinema director Jane Campion (who is a Palme D’Or winner and hence le very big deal in France). On top of that, they’re also announcing works by Bruno Dumont (“Hadewijch”), Valerie Donzelli (“Declaration of War”) and Arnaud Desplechin.
It’s Deplechin, a director with five Palme d’Or nonimations to call his own, most recently for “Jimmy P” (which we didn’t really like, but oh well), whose project is attracting the most attention: he’ll be directing a version of “The Forest” by Alexander Ostrovsky (Russia’s greatest 19th century Realist playwright, but you knew that already), about a struggling group of actors trying to get around provincial Russia (unless, of course, Deplechin updates it, which seems plausible). If even the French think TV is now superior to cinema, the end may be nigh….