Venice Film Festival | Richard Linklater feels indie cinema is ‘gone with the algorithm’

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Director Richard Linklater poses during the photo call for ‘Hit Man’ at the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy

Director Richard Linklater poses during the photo call for ‘Hit Man’ at the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy
| Photo Credit: Vianney Le Caer

Richard Linklater premiered his new feature Hit Man at the 80th Venice International Film Festival.

As per reports, the noir black comedy about an undercover cop who poses as a hitman was warmly received, earning a six-minute standing ovation at the Lido.

Ahead of the Venice screening, Linklater also spoke about the current state of independent cinema in a larger interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The now 63-year-old filmmaker was one of the key figures of the American indie scene in the early 1990s. In recent years, however, both distribution and audience interest in indie productions have tailed off, Linklater rued.

Also Read: Venice Film Festival | Adam Driver’s ‘Ferrari’ gets six-minute standing ovation

“It feels like it’s gone with the wind — or gone with the algorithm,” Linklater was quoted as saying by The Hollywood Reporter.

“Sometimes I’ll talk to some of my contemporaries who I came up with during the 1990s, and we’ll go, “Oh my God, we could never get that done today.” So, on the one hand, selfishly, you think, “I guess I was born at the right time. I was able to participate in what always feels like the last good era for filmmaking.” And then you hope for a better day. But, man, the way distribution has fallen off. Sadly, it’s mostly just the audience. Is there a new generation that really values cinema anymore? That’s the dark thought.”

Linklater said he fears there isn’t “enough of a critical mass in the culture” to sustain a genuine appreciation of cinema.

“….with a changing culture and changing technology, it’s hard to see cinema slipping back into the prominence it once held. I think we could feel it coming on when they started calling films “content” — but that’s what happens when you let tech people take over your industry,” he added.

Hit Man is adapted by Linklater and Glen Powell from a magazine article by journalist Skip Hollandsworth (Linklater had collaborated with Hollandsworth on the screenplay of his 2011 black comedy, Bernie). The new film stars Powell as Gary Johnson, an academic who moonlights for the New Orleans Police Department and is later called upon to pose as a deadly assassin-for-hire.

“A cop working undercover as the most in-demand hitman in Houston breaks protocol in order to help a desperate woman escape her abusive boyfriend,” reads the film’s synopsis.

Coincidently, David Fincher’s The Killer, about a real assassin breaking protocol and starring Michael Fassbender, also premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

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