Will Cinema Survive The Pandemic?
Article by Yousif Salame
Most industries were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic due to these circumstances and safety measures, and our lifestyle changed overnight. This is a scenario we have never seen in our lifetime except in movies and television, yet another industry that had to change and adapt overnight in order to operate during these unprecedented times.
Luckily, adaptability is a powerful asset that is crucial to resilience, and television was able to adapt and change its format in ways never done before. TV show hosts started hosting their shows from home, with no live audience… Something that was not easy at all for hosts such as Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Cobert, and Trevor Noah. These are hosts we got used to watching in suits, studio lighting, multiple camera angles, and a live audience.
Some of these hosts started integrating laughtracks in their shows, which is very 90’s and reminded me of the “Full House” vibe that also used laugh tracks across their series. Other hosts avoided doing that because they thought it was a cheap cry for laughs, but you can easily see the disappointment on their faces when they would make a joke that usually gets a huge reaction from the audience, but now trigger no reaction whatsoever, or an incomparable one to say the least.
In any case, we can say that the Television industry was agile enough to survive despite all the difficulties. On the other hand, another entertainment industry that was very badly affected by the pandemic was our beloved cinema. With movie theatres closed, productions taking a halt or even totally canceled out, and releases postponed indefinitely… the destiny of cinema remains to be an eerie mystery.
The film industry was already being faced with rising challenges as of late, due to the flourishing success of streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu, and now Paramount+ joining the online movie streaming services, which we discussed in our previous article “Death of Cinema”… While visiting a cinema is undoubtedly a different experience, we can’t help but wonder what will become of it after this pandemic subsides, and before people adapt to a new norm that might exclude or lessen this form of entertainment.
In no time throughout history did cinemas across the world close their doors, not even during the two world wars, but at the same time, cinemas have stood the test of time, and came back with more to offer as an experience, like 4DX, for example… so we wouldn’t worry much about it getting back on its feet somehow.
On another note, we can see how this pandemic has had an impact on what’s happening behind the scenes. Some film productions that resumed with high safety measures had rising tension between cast and crew members. One of these rants was that of Tom Cruise’s on the set of Mission Impossible a few weeks ago, an incident that went viral causing a fiasco by media people bashing Tom Cruise for being abusive to crew members.
However, Tom Cruise made a very good point during his rant saying that if that set were to shut down completely, more people would be left with no jobs. One cannot blame someone like Tom Cruise for being so short-fused and bad tempered by panicking like that, when even world governments had been panicking all along not knowing how to face this pandemic; implementing frequent random lockdowns and bad policy-making. Alas, in our part of the world, the concerns run deeper…
There’s a new saying in Lebanon that was going around in 2020:
“If you live anywhere around the world and think 2020 was a tough year, try being Lebanese in 2020.”
More on that in our next article. Cinema… What The Rate!
Tags: Lebanese Cinema
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