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Room 666 (1982)

Chambre 666 (original title)
During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, ... See full summary »

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During the '35th Cannes International Film Festival' (14th-26th May 1982), German director Wim Wenders asked a sample of 15 other international film directors to get, each one at a time, into the same hotel room to answer in solitude the same question about the future of cinema, while they were filmed with a 16mm camera and recorded with a Nagra sound recorder. In social sciences the goal of standardization is that each person is exposed to the same question experience, and that the recording setting of answers is the same, too, so that any differences in the answers can be correctly interpreted as reflecting differences between persons rather than differences in the process that produced the answer. The wide sampling frame in "Room 666" included European 'auteurs' and Hollywood directors, narrative and experimental filmmakers, male and female professional film directors that presented their films or were simply present at the 35th Cannes Festival in May 1982. The directors came from ... Written by Anonymous

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23 January 1985 (USA)  »

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Room 666  »

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1.33 : 1
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Wenders makes relevant questions about the future of movies
15 August 2012 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The movies are dying? This art form will cease to exist someday? What's the future of movies? And what do movie makers think about all this? See some of the answers in "Chambre 666" documentary directed by Wim Wenders in 1982, inviting film directors from all over the world to answer this questions, give their own opinion on the matter while attending the Cannes Film Festival of that year.

A hotel room, a tape recorder, a paper with the questions and a camera rolling is all what there is. The directors come in and try to explain themselves in the best possible way according to their beliefs. Between the guests are Jean-Luc Godard, Paul Morrissey, Ana Carolina, Steven Spielberg, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Michelangelo Antonioni and Wenders himself appears to explain why the director of "Yol" Yilmaz Güney couldn't attend the call and film his statement but he recorded through audio. They've got ten minutes each to answer the questions but the majority preferred to not speak so much (Godard might be the only one who used all the given time).

Trying to keep your curiosity alive I'll only make short explanations of what some of them had to say. The greatest contributions came from Herzog and Antonioni, they said things about the ways of technology and how they might influence peoples lives. The director of "Aguirre", before quoting about his optimistic view on films, made a whole ritual before giving his reply, taking off his shoes, socks and turning off the television (no one did that!) present there. Seeing this now we can only think that Herzog was wrong with one thing: people will stop to live their lives and succumb to the technologies, online shops and all, avoiding whatever what's out there. He said the opposite would occur.

The other testimonies are or too short, or too confusing, or ingenuous, or too simplistic. I don't feel that anyone really answered this thoughtful doubt because this is completely subjective, hard to explain, can't be answered at all.

Godard got moronic while presenting his views; the female directors only emphasize about the passion about making films, if that still exists then the movies shall not die; Fassbinder only changed the mood in the room and in the film and got me real confused. By mood I mean when he entered in the room Wim's edition of the film cuts off to an exterior shot with a tense music along. Strangely enough, this would be one of his last interviews, he would die a few months later taking with him German's New Cinema.

One good interview came from the 2nd director, and his reflection that just like many other art forms that at that time were dying or reduced to occasional resurrection, films are also going through the same way. I agree with that. There aren't many good movies anymore, worst, there aren't movies with a message to be sent, art films that are worthy of our time and money, and the masses are only interested in the blockbusters, movies to be consumed. Hollywood feeds us with that all the bloody time! Then comes Spielberg to open your eyes to that fact but frankly what he has to say is quite naive and hypocrite. "I'm not responsible for that" says the man who broke records with "Jaws" AND was promoting "E.T." in Cannes. Really? He changed the way Hollywood makes its system by giving special release dates, trying to predict what people want to see, money grabbing things filled of special effects. His best insight is when he talks about the studios lack of concern for storytelling, they only want the money they spent doubled, and most of the time they idealize the "perfect movie" that will join all kinds of public and make a big profit at the box-office. It's really hard to please everybody!

So, this was in 1982m TV and videotapes were the only dominant trend among people, main cause for people walking off from the theaters. Today, we have mobile phones, internet, DVD, BluRay, TV is garbage (it's strange to see Herzog praising it with such quality here but two years earlier he seemed to hate its commercials, declaring holy war against Bonanza on "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe"). It's fascinating to look back and see how their opinions weren't so prophetic, very few got it right and movies aren't dead...yet. Almost there.

Judging the movie now. The idea was great, everyone should see it just to have some perspective and make up their own minds abut the intriguing and difficult questions Wenders makes. The concept is somewhat flawed though, uninteresting, tiring partly because most of the filmmakers don't talk about movies with passion, with love and even good will. Someone like Scorsese or Kieslowski here would be amazing, they would give positive and remarkable comments.

"Chambre 666" desperately needs a sequel. Wenders must call back all the directors who are still alive, show their interviews back in the 1980's and present what has changed, what they've got it right or wrong, give us new light on things and maybe predict another future for the movies. Keep this idea alive, Wim! 9/10


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