Francis Ford Coppola on Big Society
The cinema language happened by experimentation – by people not knowing what to do. But unfortunately, after 15-20 years, it became a commercial industry. People made money in the cinema, and then they began to say to the pioneers, “Don’t experiment. We want to make money. We don’t want to take chances.”
Coppola, Marrakech International Film Festival, Morocco
Although he was referring specifically to the film industry here what Coppola says holds true in the general case – during a time of disruption, as the moving pictures obviously were to therather staid arts world of the time, there will be great advances, but at a cost of predictability. There is a human need to reduce risk. Particularly once a disruption has turned from something inexplicable and chaotic, into a neatly boxed and apparently understood ‘thing’.
Take the disruption around the dawn of the welfare state. Another time of great change, moving from a previously very set class system of society to one where merit not background decided what you could accumulate in life. Pretty soon though this ceased being ‘new’, ceased being the perpetual revolution. The new set who emerged from this in good standing – the baby boomers – were now the new film industry bourgeoisie. They want guarantees, hard and fast rules that can protect what they have gained.
We don’t want to take the chances ourselves. Get someone else to stand up and be counted, someone else to take the responsibility.
When Coppola sits down to say this about film to Moroccan schoolkids it is bohemian, profound & inspiring.
Maybe we need Francis Ford Coppola to sit down and talk about society in the UK.
btw, read the rest of Coppola’s interview from the link above – impressive railing against the howls of protest over artist rights we get laboured with today. Thanks to cimota for highlighting the interview